The National Pension Commission, PENCOM, has uncovered a new trick by unidentified fraudsters disguising as relatives of workers and retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS.
The fraudsters have been approaching Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to collect the pensions of contributors, according to information available in PenCom.
According to the fraudsters, who have been deceiving the PFAs with fake documents, have successfully collected the pension benefits of some living workers and retirees after providing ‘evidences’ that they are dead.
PenCom stated that it was introducing stringent measures to stop this worrisome menace.
The commission revealed this in a circular titled: ‘Revised procedures on processing of death benefits’, which was sent to the PFAs.
It stated in the circular, “The commission has received series of complaints from retirees, who alleged that their PFAs have wrongfully paid their benefits to their next of kin or legal beneficiaries, while they are still alive and in active service without their consent.
“Following these complaints and reports by the PFAs, it has become imperative to issue additional measures to curb these complaints and strengthen the processes and practices of processing and payment of death benefits.”
PenCom stated that some of the measures it was introducing were that henceforth, PFAs would be required to enhance their internal controls and carry out further investigations on the documentation submitted by the next of kin/ legal beneficiaries of the deceased before forwarding such to the commission for approval.
The regulator also stated that the PFAs must ensure due diligence and conduct search at the probate registry of the issuing authority to confirm the genuineness of the documents as well as the verification of the information of the named administrator and sureties.
It stated, “All PFAs shall henceforth be required to contact the employer of the deceased on verification and/or confirmation of death of employee.
“The PFAs shall ensure that the affixed current passport photograph of the next of kin/legal beneficiary shall be certified by the deceased employer.
“Next of kin/legal beneficiaries shall be required to submit a valid means of identification or a letter from a notary public, where a means of identification is not readily ascertainable.”
The commission also instructed the PFAs to confirm the death certificates of the deceased issued by hospitals as well as the police report, where death was by accident.
According to PenCom, the officer of the PFA that undertakes the due diligence in the probate registry, hospital or police authority must write and sign a report on the findings.
It added that it would ensure that the appropriate beneficiaries would be identified by the PFAs in the event of payment to wrong beneficiaries.
“All PFAs are required to note that the above measures are for immediate implementation and sanctions for infractions shall be in line with the extant regulation on the administration of retirement and terminal benefits,” the commission added.