Pension Funds Theft: N32bn Police Pension Fund

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Sectors: pension


The cry of Nigerians pensioners is likely been heard by the “Most High” as cases of pension frauds has been unravelled recently in various sectors of the Nation. This was discovered when a fraud of over N5billion was uncovered in the Pensions Unit of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation by the operatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in April 2012.


While the nation was still whirling from this news another scandal broke out. It was reported that there had been massive embezzlement of Police Pensions Funds, with several billions of naira diverted into the private accounts of some government officials. Following these scandals, there was widespread condemnation by the media and general populace about the government’s unwillingness to decisively tackle the issue of corruption, which has become a bane to the country’s development. The Police Pension Fund theft could be best described as an embarrassment to the National.


The unfolding multi-trillion naira federal pension fraud advertises to the entire world that corruption has overwhelmed the Nigerian state. When the Senate, the upper legislative chamber, throws up its hands and says it has handed over an official it accuses of pilfering public funds “to God”, it signposts its utter helplessness over the very important task of tackling corruption in public places. 

The former Director of Pension in the Police Affairs Ministry, John Yakhubu Yusufu had who pleaded guilty to the 20-count charge of criminal conversion of N32.5 billion belonging to the Police Pension Fund. EFCC had alleged that the accused persons conspired and sequentially withdrew monies from Police Pension funds in an account domiciled at First Bank of Nigeria and shared it among themselves, adding that the 3rd accused person, Inuwa Wada, collected N18million from Unity Bank Plc, as his reward for retaining the Police Pension Account with the bank.


According to the EFCC, the offence is punishable under section 27 (3) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment e.t.c) Act Cap E1 2004. Yusufu was hitherto facing trial alongside a Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Atiku Abubakar Kigo and six others, Esai Dangabar, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula, Sani Habila Zira and Christian Madubuike.

The scale of the fraud in public sector pensions is as massive as the twists in official efforts to impose order are bizarre. Abdulrasheed Maina, Chairman of the Presidential Pension Reform Task Force Team, reckons that about N3.3 trillion has been released by the Federal Government for public sector retirees since 1976 “without accountability”. Over the years, not only has the country been treated regularly to the awful spectacle of elderly retirees collapsing and dying in the contrived pensioners’ verification queues, mind-boggling revelations of massive, systematic and brazen theft have also been making the headlines, confirming our rating as one of the world’s most corrupt nations.   


It is still not clear to many citizens of the country why the Justice Abubakar Talba, the Federal High Court, Abuja, sentenced John Yusufu, former director in the Police Pension Office, to two years in prison with an option of N250, 000 fine on each of the three counts. The ruling drew anger from many Nigerians, including legal experts, who believe that granting an option of fine for such a monumental fraud would encourage corruption by public officers.

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