The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) on Friday in Abuja inaugurated an Anti Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) to fastrack the fight against corruption in the agency.
Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, Executive Secretary of PTAD, said that the inauguration of the ACTU in the directorate was to prevent corrupt practices in pension administration.
According to her, ACTU will enable the directorate to be in best practices in pension administration in Nigeria.
Ikeazor said that this was a bold and action-backed programme that PTAD would not allow the activities of pension fraudsters to continue under any guise.
“This unique unit will perform all the function and duties detailed in section 6 of the Corrupt Practices Act of 2000 except that of “persecution,’’ the Executive Secretary said.
She listed reporting all alleged cases of corruption to ICPC, undertaking preliminary investigation of each petition and forwarding findings to ICPC as the duties of ACTU.
Others are handling misconduct such as suppression of records, false claim, corruption, embezzlement, falsification of records, managing risk, promoting ethnics, and development of code of conduct for PTAD and enforcing integrity.
She added that since the advent of PTAD, there had been a clear change in administration of pensions under the Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS) in Nigeria.
Ikeazor said that before PTAD, Nigeria’s pension administration had fallen into disrepute amidst allegations of misappropriation of funds, maladministration, corruption, fraud, short payment of pension and gratuity.
She explained that removal of names from the pension payment voucher; unpaid pension arrears, among others, were the ills that riddled pension administration before the coming of PTAD.
Ikeazor explained that in the absence of strong regulatory oversight, the defunct pension offices, civil service pension, Police pension office, Customs, Immigration and others were entangled with cases of misappropriation of funds.
She noted the act of frauds and mismanagement funds ran into billions of naira which became a national embarrassment with huge financial consequences and pensioners’ welfare was relegated to the background.
Earlier, Mr Ekpo Nta, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), said that PTAD had joined the league of agencies that used ACTU to fight corruption in public institutions.
Nta acknowledged that there had been case of alleged mismanagement and corruption in handling of pension funds of retirees, a situation that contributed to the challenges faced by retirees over years.
He explained that the establishment of ACTU by PTAD would address the dark ages of pension fund mismanagement, adding that fund mismanagement would now be history.
Nta noted that ICPC and PTAD were partnering to produce positive results in serving the people better.