FG Uncovers 24,000 Ghost Pensioners, Laments Dubious Acts By Families Of Dead Retirees - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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FG Uncovers 24,000 Ghost Pensioners, Laments Dubious Acts By Families Of Dead Retirees

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PhotoCredit:LeadershipNewspaper

The Pension Transitional Directorate (PTAD) said a staggering 24,000 ghost pensioners have been erased from the pension pay roll as a result of verification exercise which started in 2017.

This is as the agency laments the conducts of family members of some dead pensioners who infamously withdraw payments from the accounts of the deceased thereby causing the government to loose money.

According to Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, the PTAD’s Executive Secretary, the federal government expends a whopping N5 billion on pension payments to about 300,000 retirees of 270 parastatals and government privatised agencies monthly.

Ikeazor interacted with journalists Tuesday, on the sideline of the ongoing fourth phase of Pensioner Verification in Maiduguri, the Borno State.

She said: "The verification gives us greater accountability to know we are paying the right pensioners.

Sharon Ikeazor; PhotoCredit:PremiumTimes

“At the end of the exercise, pensioners could verify themselves from the comfort of their homes that they are still alive so that we stop payment to the deceased without denying rightful pensioners their monies because of the unscrupulous ones.

“Let the Next of Kin (NoK) of the deceased put in their death claims and we will pay them instead of defrauding government of monthly pension,” she said.

She noted that the verification exercise was  designed to address anomalies and complaints, to ensure accurate, reliable and transparency in pension administration.

She stated further that  that the agency is collaborating with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), security agencies and pension unions, to facilitate smooth conduct of the exercise.

She revealed that the organisation has established a digital database for pensioners to enhance its operations.

The digital database, she said,  would be used to counter duplicate payments, eliminate ghost pensioners and largely regularise anomalies of over and under payments. It would also be used to obtain accurate work records and update of Next of Kin records.

“The essence of digitising the employment records and bio-metrics of pensioners is to create a permanent database of their records and ensure that they are not asked to come out again for such detailed exercise,” she said.

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