By Gabriel Agbeja
The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has vowed to ensure zero tolerance for corruption in handling of pensioners funds.
PTAD Executive Secretary Sharon Ikeazor made this known on Saturday in Abuja during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Ikeazor said that PTAD would strive to sustain its professionalism, integrity, honesty zero tolerance for fraud and ensure transparency and accountability.
She said that the agency had set up anti-corruption transparency unit in collaboration with Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to ensure that there was no room for corruption in PTAD.
“ There should be no room for corruption in PTAD. That is why I set up anti-corruption transparency unit in collaboration with ICPC,’’ she said.
She said that the work of the unit was to address any fraudulent practices with pensioners’ funds.
“Some fraudsters usually come up as pensioners and we find out they don’t work in isolation. They must have inside information to know whose pension is being processed.
“Once the pensioners have been able to identify the person, we hand the person over to ICPC and ICPC will investigate before handing over the person to EFCC for prosecution,“ she said.
According to her, pensioners covered under the Defined Benefit Scheme are Civil Service Pensions Department, Customs, Immigration and Prisons Police Pensions and Parastatals Pension S-Department.
Ikeazor listed key stakeholders that PTAD had been working with to include National Pension Commission, Budget Office of the Federation, and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
Others are Nigerian Union of Pensions (NUP) and their sector unions, Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria (ARPON) and National Association of Retired Para-Military (NARPO).
The executive secretary said that the organisation had been training its staff to handle elders with dignity, empathy and compassion.
According to her, before assuming duty, contacts of staff with the pensioners did not measure up to her expectations.
“I feel they must have empathy when dealing with our pensioners. Besides empathy, you must treat them with a certain level of dignity; the highest level of dignity and to have patience with them.
“So, we have to train our staff, especially the Call Centre staff on how to deal with the elderly because not everyone has the patience to deal with them. So this is work in progress,’’ she said.