The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), has said that there were over 4,000 ghost pensioners among the 20,000 police pensioners it inherited.
The ghost pensioners were discovered during the ongoing pensioners’ verification and biometric data capturing exercise in Benin, Edo State.
The Executive Secretary of the Board, Sharon Ikeazor, said they were able to detect the pension fraud during the ongoing verification and biometric data capturing exercise for pensioners who retired from federal government agencies and parastatals in Edo and Delta states.
She said, “When we took on police pension, we had over 20,000 pensioners on our pay roll. By the time we concluded the verification, we got 16,000 pensioners and that is lot of savings for government and the genuine pensioners were now being paid.
“The same for civil service pensions, by the time we concluded the verification. We had a lot of savings for government because those who were irregularly put on that pay roll by the last maladministration has been take off and those genuine pensioners who were dropped, were replaced so it is the same exercise we are doing now.
“PTAD has four pension departments that it inherited when it was set up, the police pension, the civil service pension, the Customs, Immigration and Prisons Service and the Parastatals pensions. What we are doing now is the parastatals verification which is made up of over 260 government agencies.
“This verification will be the last verification that will be conducted by PTAD because what we are doing is to have a credible secured data base, we will not bring our pensioners out again for verification once we conclude this. We have concluded police pension verification.
“Everyone here is on PTAD payroll so they will be verified and their pensions will continue and all those who have issues will be addressed. We do it state by state.”
She, however, assured that good time awaits pensioners once the verification is finalized, as they would no longer be made to pass through the rigours of physical presence for verification.
She added that they are also trying to decentralize their operations across the states, instead of pensioners going to Abuja.
“We are out in the field for two weeks and after the field verification ends, we have state offices, we have an office here in Benin where they can go back and get their verification done, Lagos office is set up also, we are trying to decentralize so that our pensioners don’t suffer and come all the way to Abuja for verification. In the comfort of their states, they will be verified,” she added.