– The Sun News

Pension fraud: SGF, AGF, Kano emir, others shun Reps panel

Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; Head of Service of the Federation (HoS), Mrs. Winifred Ita-Oyo, Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and the Governor of Central Bank(CBN), Godwin Emefiele, yesterday, failed to appear before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating activities of the defunct Presidential Taskforce on Pension Reforms and successor agencies.

Others absent at yesterd ay’s investigative hearing were former minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, who was a former CBN governor; Femi Falana (SAN) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Chairman of the defunct taskfore, Abdulrasheed Maina was also absent.

Committee Chairman, Anayo Nnebe, who frowned at their absence, said apart from the PTAD Executive Secretary, Sharon Ikeazor, who wrote the committee to say she would be unavailable for yesterday’s hearing, others did not offer any reason for their absence.

He said although Emefiele sent a deputy director to represent him, it was unacceptable to the committee.

Nnebe, however, said the committee has given all those who fail to attend the investigative hearing another opportunity to appear before it tomorrow.

“We are not going to intimidate anybody.  But, we will not allow anyone to intimidate us,” he stated.

This happened just as the committee  quizzed a former  HoS, Steven Oronsaye, over alleged fraud in the administration of pension funds in the country.

In response to questions  from committee members, Oronsaye said the defunct taskforce was constituted after his tenure as HoS, and that what he set-up was Pension Taskforce.

However, the former HoS admitted that the  presidential taskforce on pension reforms was an offshoot of a pension verification  panel, he set up during his tenure and noted that because he is currently in court with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), there was a limit to what he could say at the investigative hearing.

Oronsaye explained that a pension verification exercise he embarked upon during his tenure as HoS, revealed that there was fraud in the administration of pension funf  in the country.

He said when he assumed office as HoS in June 2009, the federal was spending about N1.5 billionn monthly on pensions and that after verification, “the amount paid was about N882 million, meaning that we had a significant reduction of a little over N612 million.”


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