The spectre of fraudulent activities in pension administration in Nigeria has been described as abuse of public trust. The Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde made the observation in a paper he presented on Thursday May 24, 2012 at a workshop organized by the Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria, CIPN in Abuja . In the paper entiled “Sustaining the Public Confidence in the Face of Financial Mismanagement and Corruption”,presented on his behalf by Mr. Wakili Mohammed, Director Internal Affairs, Lamorde bemoaned the mind-boggling scam in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation Pension office.
According to him, “it was not so much the mind-boggling amount of money that was stolen as the brazen way the looting was carried out and who was doing the stealing that shocked us at the EFCC.”
Lamenting the paradox between the country’s huge natural resource endowment and widespread poverty, the EFCC boss blamed the country’s woes on corruption. He said the only way confidence could be restored in the conduct of public affairs in Nigeria is through the restoration of family values and aggressive law enforcement.
“From the position of a law enforcement officer, the only answer is “Enforce the law!” That is the only way to restore and sustain public confidence in the face of daily, brutal trashing of public morality and trampling of social ethics,” he posited.
Speaking while declaring the workshop open, President of CPIN, Barrister Ose Ogunkorode described the training as crucial and timely in view of recent happenings in the pension industry. He said the programme was organized to awaken the consciousness of stakeholders to good corporate governance and best practices in the industry.
He challenged participants to be active change agents who would ensure that all deserving retirees benefit from their years of labour without being shortchanged.
In his contribution, Ivor M. Tankor, a director with Nigeria Pension Commission, PenCOM, said that if the government, the regulators and all stakeholders in the pension industry do their jobs in accordance with the law, there would be a great deal of accountability in pension matters in Nigeria. He identified corruption as the biggest challenges facing the industry and emphasized timely disclosure of information to enable law enforcement agencies do their work whenever the need arises.