A letter written to the 8th Senate by the former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, has surfaced.
The letter, dated June 19, 2015, sought a review of his case and alleged that pension funds amounting to more than N3 trillion was, as at when he went on self-exile in 2013, trapped in 97 pension offices.
Maina, in the letter, accused the 7th Senate of aiding and abetting pension thieves across the country. Maintaining his innocence, Maina claimed that the 7th Senate aided those who took action against him and tried to intimidate him.
The letter, titled ‘Pension Reform Task Team: Appeal for Review of Investigation Probe by Senate Joint Committee on Establishment and Public Service and States and Local Government Administration 2011-2013’, was addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki.
It stated that the task force’s effort led to the arrest of 46 persons and helped the nation save N1.6trillion from pension thieves. "We used financial intelligence skills to achieve ground-breaking achievements in our assignment. We recovered and saved cash and properties worth over N1.6trillion,” he said.
The letter reads:“We, members of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), 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 10th June, 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 with precision and national interests as our guiding principles
“The PRTT took off effectively by January 2011. "We used financial intelligence skills to achieve ground breaking achievements in our assignment.
"We recovered and saved cash and properties worth over N1.6 trillion. "Our efforts led to the arrest and prosecution of 46 persons/firms involved in looting of pension funds which we handed to the EFCC. The trials are still ongoing.
"As it is, there is a leakage of N256 billion monthly from the current IPPIS, which needs to be blocked urgently.
"We are also aware of some government hidden accounts which needs 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 7th National Assembly by resolution dated 2nd November, 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 was general expectation 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.
"We became objects of corruption fighting us back. From our first appearance before the Senate committee, it was obvious that the entire exercise conducted by the Committee was geared towards discrediting the PRTT,” the letter stated.
Arguing that before leaving Nigeria, following threats 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.
Source: The Nation