The former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, has accused the David Mark-led 7th Senate of aiding pension thieves.
Maina’s accusation was contained in a letter which leaked on Friday, written to the Senate on June 19, 2015 and obtained by Punch.
In an interview with an unnamed TV station earlier in the week, Maina said he has documents that would expose the real pension thieves, adding that his life was at risk.
Maina alleged in the letter that over N3 trilion hidden had yet to be recouped from 97 pension offices before he fled the country.
The law firm representing Maina, Messrs Mamman Nadir & Co., on 36 Ali Akilu Road, Kaduna, confirmed the authenticity of the leaked letter to the newsapaper.
The letter, referenced PRTT /PEN /NASS /SEN /16 / VOL1 / 05, was directed through Senator Nneji Achonu’s (Imo North Senatorial Zone ) office to the Senate President.
The memo was entitled, “Pension reform task team — Appeal for review of investigation by the Senate Joint Committee on Establishment and Public Service and States and Local Government Administration , 2011 – 2013.”
The letter read in part, “We, members of the Pensions Reform Task Team, wish to use this medium to apologise for our little late response to reaching back to you.
“We had to put the issues together and source for appurtenant materials. We appreciate your understanding, sir.
“As a refresher, the PRTT was inaugurated on June 10, 2010, by the immediate past administration of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, with a clear mandate to restructure the Head of Service Pension Office, Police Pension Office, among others.
“We did our utmost best with precision and national interests as our guiding principles.
“The PRTT took off effectively by January 2011. We used financial intelligence skills to achieve groundbreaking achievements in our assignment.
“N256bn is still stolen monthly. As it is, there is a leakage of N256bn monthly from the current IPPIS, which needs to be blocked urgently.
“We are also aware of some government hidden accounts which need to be mopped up.
“We can be used to engage any department of government in sanitising the financial workflow to avoid loose ends that remain susceptible to leakages.
“Based on the revelations of massive/monumental fraud and outright stealing of pension funds, which was brought to public attention by the PRTT, the 7 th National Assembly by resolution dated November 2, 2011, mandated its Committee on Establishment and Public Service, State and Local Government Administration, to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the management and administration of Pension funds in Nigeria.
“There were general expectations that the various dimensions of irregularities associated with the management of pension funds in Nigeria would come to an end as a consequence of the investigations being conducted by the Senate Joint Committee.”
The ex-pension boss maintained that while the Senate haunted the task team, the same body favoured the “pension thieves,” adding that the Senate Joint Committee ended up creating more problems than solutions to the endemic corruption and fraud prevailing in the system.
He said that before leaving Nigeria following threat to his life, “the PRTT had worked so hard that pension payments stabilised.”
Maina noted that the biometric system adopted by the team exposed 73,000 ghost pensioners in the office of the Head of Service alone.
“Some pensioners got a backlog of about 30 years paid into their accounts. All payments were ordered under the signature of the Head of Service monthly.”
According to him, the ICPC conducted an investigation into the matter but regretted that “till date, they have yet to commence the prosecution.”
“Today, it (pension ) is worse with the Police Pension Office, where millions are taken out of pension funds daily. We have pieces of evidence to substantiate this.
“As we write to you, Abdulrasheed A. Maina has been dismissed from the Civil Service for being absent for three days, while his life was under threat following a gunshot attack on his person in front of the Head of Civil Service Office, where his office was located in February, 2013.
“Attached are copies of letters from the Nigeria Police Force. ANNEXURE 3 (a ) and (b).”