PenCom Faults Documents Purporting Its DG Travelled during Covid-19

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has dismissed documents in circulation purporting that its Director General, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, spent millions of dollars in travels during the Covid-19 pandemic, describing them as manufactured.

In a statement from the commission, it insisted that the accusation against the director general was  a figment of the imagination of its promoters, maintaining that it wasn’t possible for  Dahir-Umar to get the humongous ‘estacodes’ even if she spent two years outside the country.
“Management would like to alert the public to the renewed campaign of outrageous falsehood against the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and its Director General, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, over some imagined financial impropriety.

“Although the promoters of this fiction went to the extent of manufacturing documents and listing non-existent bank accounts to make the fabrication look real, a fiction remains a fiction and can never become the truth no matter how many times it is repeated and recycled,” PenCom stated.

The report had alleged that the director general was paid millions of dollars as travel allowance for foreign trips she did not embark upon in 2020.
But the commission maintained that the poor attempt at calumny against its leadership was exposed by the fact that there was a global lockdown in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic during which international travels were restricted.

In addition, it recalled that during the time, offices were shut down and most people had to hold virtual meetings.
PenCom pointed out that it was, thus, most outlandish to suggest that any government agency would claim to be paying allowances to its officials for international travels when most airports were shut down globally.

It stressed that this was more so, given that official foreign trips require strict documentation, including air tickets, stamped passport pages and evidence of number of days spent.

“Rates for estacodes are standardised. If the DG were to spend two years abroad without returning to the country for one day, it would still be impossible for her to claim a million dollars as estacode. The desperate fabricators need to respect the intelligence of Nigerians,” the statement noted.

PenCom said it was aware of current political intrigues in the country caused by the jostling for appointments, but stated that it believed there were more decent ways of going about it than peddling ‘tales by moonlight’ and using notorious online outlets to push the lies to unsuspecting readers.

The commission implored the public to ignore the ‘fake documents’ and the discredited allegations being recycled at the slightest opportunity. “The commission has nothing to hide and will continue to run a transparent and accountable system,” PenCom stated.

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