From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The embattled former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, has said that, he is being haunted for stopping N5.32 billion, which he alleged, was being stolen monthly in the office of the Head of Service and Police Pension office alone.
He stated this through his aide, Olajide Fashikun in Kaduna yesterday.
According to Fashikun, the media trial and framed up allegations were part of efforts by pension thieves to stop him from exposing them, which is why he urged President Muhammadu Buhari to thoroughly investigate pending pension petitions, especially as Senator Kabiru Gaya said in an interview that the N195 billion which he (Maina) was accused of stealing is in the TSA account.
Maina who has been on the run, said the presidential investigation is imperative to expose the real pension thieves, some of whom he alleged, are highly placed public office holders, adding that such will bring succour to starving pensioners.
He added that, his task team saved the country about N282 billion from June 2010 when it was constituted, revealed that, the presidential investigation will also expose the sum of £6 million (about N3.3 billion) stashed in accounts in London and the top government functionaries in different offices who are drawing the interest on the accounts.
According to him, “between the Head of Service and the Police Pension office, the two places PRTT worked, a leakage of N5.32 billion was stopped per month. This is what civil servants steal monthly in the two offices out of the 99 pension offices in the country. 43 persons were arrested and handed over to the EFCC to prosecute while 222 houses were seized from them.
“In the current media trial where all manners of stories have been published, there has been a lot of distortion of facts and sometimes outright blackmail, all in an attempt to paint the PRTT boss black. As soon as Maina was driven to exile before the coming of the PTAD, N35 billion was stolen in the Head of Service. The ICPC did not come out with the report. How come nobody is talking about these monies? Fashikun asked.
“After the biometric exercise, there were 71,000 genuine workers in the police pension office who needed N826 million to pay them unlike N5.3 billion appropriated for them annually. They were pocketing N4.2billion yearly. They devised several ingenious ways to pull these cash out, they pull out an average of N300 million daily Monday to Friday. There are bank alerts to substantiate these assertions.”
Speaking further, Maina’s aide stressed “there has been a lot of deliberate cover in a well written script to give Maina a bad name. Some of those who worked in the PRTT committee do ‘kabu-kabu’ to augment their survival. They were severely starved of funds, Maina’s PRTT was a clog in the wheel of so many who were looting the pensioner’s funds.
Maina said he had “verifiable” evidence the federal pension scheme was returning to “the looting era” which his team set out to end, noting that an alleged 98% of pensioners have been denied their benefits since November, 2012.