FG Panel Discovers £2 Million PHCN Pension Fund in UK Bank

In the quest to resolve the superannuation pension fund crisis that raised its ugly head in Power Holding Company of Nigeria, an investigative panel that was set up by the Federal Government to audit the controversy discovered that parts of the company’s pension are stashed away in a bank in the United Kingdom (UK). The whopping sum of £2,204,814.18 was discovered and has been in Barclays Bank for about 21 years. It was also confirmed that this money was an accumulation of pension deposits for expatriate workers of the power utility and was believed to have been transferred by its officials long before the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) metamorphosed into PHCN. Investigations also indicates that PHCN has in the past 21 years failed to fund its in-house pension scheme, thus putting the future of its retiring workers in jeopardy. It disclosed that the company has no money to fund the pension scheme. It was, however, not clear if PHCN was allowed under the laws governing such government entities to keep such accounts. Mr. Joseph Ajiboye, the chairman of the eight-man audit panel on PHCN pension who is also a former Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF), averred  that the panel could not ascertain if officials of PHCN had continued to remit pension and gratuity deductions to the foreign account, considering that the last expatriate pensioner of the utility is reported to have died. Mr. Ajiboye. in the summary of the panel’s findings, which he presented to the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Darius Ishaku, Monday in Abuja, explained that its consideration of various financial audits of the in-house pension scheme of the company, showed that the failure to fund the scheme was based on the excuse that PHCN (or NEPA) has perpetually operated at a commercial loss, especially within the period under review. He noted that financial audits of the scheme from 1990 to 2010, which it studied in a bid to ascertain transactions in the account, showed that from 1990 to 1999, a total of N1, 787,919 was paid out as pensions and gratuities to workers, while N51,279,940,138 was paid out from 2000 to 2010.

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Osaro Agho


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