Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Federal Ministry of Finance has confirmed the suspension of the Director General of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), Nellie Mayshak.
The suspension followed the searchlight on PTAD, which was established in August 2013 in line with the provisions of Section 30 sub-section (2) (a) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) of 2004 (amended in 2014) which stipulated the establishment of an independent pension department for the Public Service of the Federation.
The agency is responsible for the pension administration of the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), and was established to address the numerous pensioners’ complaints that border on such issues as the non-payment of monthly pension, short payment of pension and gratuity, removal of name on pension payment voucher, non-payment of harmonised pension arrears, irregular payment of federal pensions and non receipt of pension after retirement, among others.
An online news portal, The Cable, which had first reported her suspension yesterday, said the development followed a damning audit report which uncovered an alleged scam running into billions of naira in PTAD.
Confirming the suspension via a telephone chat, the Special Adviser, Media, Minister of Finance, Mr. Festus Akanbi, said Mayshak’s suspension was in tandem with civil service procedure to pave the way for unfettered investigations to be carried out.
Although he did not give details on why the PTAD chief executive was suspended, THISDAY gathered that Mayshak had already complied with the directive to proceed on suspension.
However, a close confidant of the suspended PTAD boss told THISDAY yesterday that she was in a meeting, but the nature and venue of the meeting could not be ascertained.
When contacted, another source close to her dismissed the alleged scam with a wave of the hand because of what he referred to as inbuilt mechanism in the pension system to forestall fraud under PTAD as against the recent experience in the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).
PTAD is made up of the Civil Service Pension Department (CSPD), Police Pension Department (PPD), Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension Department (CIPPD), Treasury Funded Parastatal Pension Department (PaPD), and the Pension Support Services Department (PSSD)
In accordance with another Act of the National Assembly, the Military Pension Department, and the Security Agencies Pension Department were exempted from the consolidation and management of PTAD.
PTAD had in July last year disclosed that there were no fewer than 132,000 pensioners from the core civil service, parastatal, agencies and the police drawing pensions from the federal government.
At the same period, it reported the uncovering 3,000 ghost police pensioners, and saved over N100 million monthly, which would have been paid to the ghost pensioners.
The establishment of PTAD was a marked response to the huge police pension fraud involving the former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, who has already been declared wanted by the police.