Suspension of Nigeria pension boss smacks of witch-hunt
The suspended Nellie Mayshak
The suspension of Nellie Mayshak, the Director-General of the Pension Transition Arrangement Department (PTAD) has irked members of the Pensioners Rights and Protection Alliance (PPRA), calling the move a "witch-hunt."
In a statement released in Abuja, the pension advocacy group, represented by the Executive Secretary, Sule Adams, questioned the haste with which the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun suspended the D-G without first carrying out a discreet and forensic investigation into the alleged fraud.
“The suspension of Mrs. Nellie Mayshak, according to him, came to us as a rude shock not because she is above such disciplinary action, but because we find the process leading to it as gravely flawed and undeserving of a Nigerian who had worked hard since the establishment of PTAD to put smiles on the faces of us, Nigerian pensioners," the statement said.
“It is an open secret that Nigerian pensioners have borne the brunt of the pervasive corruption in the Nigerian society more than any other group after toiling all through their productive years; PTAD and by extension, Mrs. Nellie Mayshak came to reverse the situation after similar interventionist agencies contributed in worsening the situation in the past,” the group indicated in the statement.
The group insisted that the allegations were spurious and unfounded based on what they called their knowledge of the workings of PTAD as according to them, all pensioners’ salaries are paid through the Central Bank of Nigeria to beneficiary’s accounts using the Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).
Members of the group noted also that such payments were tracked through the banks to ensure that every pensioner received their entitlement immediately they were paid.
The news release continued that it was a known fact that PTAD prepared and submitted monthly payroll of pensioners to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, in addition to issuing of payment instruction to the same office, which is as adjunct of the federal ministry of finance.
The group, therefore, wondered why the ministry could now turn around abruptly to deny the agency if there was not much to the suspension other than meets the ordinary eye, even as it restated the need for the president to go deeply into the matter.
Sule Adams mentioned that PTAD had saved tens of billions of Naira for the nation through the elimination of over 4,500 ghost pensioners and of recent times, saved another N7billion in 5 months that otherwise would have disappeared into the pockets of insurance companies and underwriters.
He said it is equally on record that PTAD has a list of 120 pension fraudsters which it had submitted to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for investigations while challenging the public to cross check these assertions from the Federal Ministry of finance and the ICPC respectively.
“It is therefore preposterous to say that the Director General padded the payroll when she has been in the forefront of those fighting against such group,” Mr. Adams argued.
The group which says it cannot sit back and watch pension administration in Nigeria return to the dogs also disproved the widely reported allegations that the Director-General was drawing a whopping salary of N60 million every month, saying, Mrs. Nellie Mayshak earns a little over N3 million a month, which was duly approved for the office by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and which it says is about the least among its contemporaries in the public financial agencies such as CBN, FIRS, ICPC, PENCOM, NSITF, PPRA and others.
“How can any civil servant allocate salary to his or herself if it is not an attempt to smear the woman by the endemic cabal of fraudsters whom she had fought relentlessly to remove their hands from the till of hapless pensioners?” the group questioned.
Concluding, the pension advocacy group marveled at why Nigerians love to pull down their brightest brains informing that Mrs. Mayshak had a distinguished career that spanned Europe, Asia, Canada and Africa before taking the PTAD job and she came highly recommended.
“Mrs. Nellie Mayshak is not just another Nigerian who was fortunate to get a job because of her gender or who she knows, but because of her track record of performance based a reputation built over the years working with different governments and international agencies in public sector reforms.
We therefore call on the minister of Finance and indeed the president to see through the gang up against this intelligent and hard-working Nigerian and not just lift the suspension but clear her name through diligent investigation devoid of bias,” the advocacy group admonished.
Mr. Adams, a retiree from the federal civil service and also an exco member of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners said they the pensioners were now more aware of the management of their pension as regular communication and engagement opportunities were made available to them by PTAD to understand their workings.