Timothy Olanrewaju Maiduguri
Borno State government has saved about N400 million from pension payment fraud discovered during verification exercise.
Head of the Civil Service in the state, Mr Simon Malgwi revealed at a Press Conference in Maiduguri, state capital on Saturday that the state governor, Babagana Zulum was worried about several complaints from prisoners regarding delay in the payment of their entitlement and ordered biometric verifications of the pension system in tjr state.
“On Thursday 12th March, 2020, His Excellency found it expedient to go to the Pension Office, where a public hearing was in progress,and took chsrhr of the situation,” the Head of the service disclosed.
He said a total of 387 complaints from pensioners were received by the pension office through the Nigeria Union of Pension. He said 70 of the 387 complaints have been cleared and captured before the Pension Public hearing chaired by the governor while 129 biometric forms were not filled by the pensioners for processing and capturing.
He said the exercise initiated by the governor with the sole motive of ensuring those who served the state diligently and retired do not suffer brought a lot of discovering including fraud in the payment and claims by pensioners.
“We have saved about N400 million as a result of the verification in the pension system,” he disclosed. He said some technical of the fraud were perpetrated through deliberate overstay in the service beyond mandatory years of service, altering of date of birth or year of entry into services.
Others according to him, include cases of those who were collecting salaries and pensions at the same time. He said some next of kin or relations of deceased pensioners sometimes failed to report the death of the pensioners but continued to collect the entitlement. He
described such acts as gross misconduct and formidable betrayal.
He said government would invoke appropriate provisions of the Civil service rules or result to penal code where crimes were established to address such misconduct in public service.
He commended the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Nigeria Union of Pensioners for the collaboration in the verification exercise. He said government has already commenced payment of May salary to state civil servants to allow Muslim faithfuls celebrate the forthcoming Islamic festival at the end of Ramadan fast and alleviate the economic impact of the new coronavirus pandemic.