The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has directed all the Pension Fund Administrators(PFAs) in the country to conduct thorough investigation before processing any death benefits claim as some fraudulent people are now claiming death benefits of retirees while they were alive.
In recent time, the commission said it has received series of complaints from retirees who complained that PFAs are wrongfully paying death benefits to their Next-of-Kin, while they are still alive and in active service without their consent.
A circular issued to all pension fund operators earlier in the month, and signed by the Head, Surveillance Department, PenCom, Mohammed Datti, stated that it has become imperative to issue additional measures to curb the complaints and strengthen the process and practices in processing and payment of death benefits.
To this end, the pension industry regulator urged PFAs to enhance their internal controls and carry out further investigations on the documentation submitted by Legal Beneficiaries of the deceased before submission to the commission for approval.
PFAs, according to PenCom, are to also ensure due diligence and conduct search at the Probate Registry of the issuing authority to confirm the genuineness of the document as well as the verification of the information of the named administrator and sureties.
All PFAs shall henceforth, be required to contact the employer of the deceased in verification and/or, confirmation of the death of the employee, it said.
Pointing out that all PFAs must ensure that the affixed current passport photograph of the Next-of-Kin, is certified by the deceased employer, it added that Legal Beneficiaries must be required to submit a valid means of identification or a letter from a Notary Public where a means of identification is not readily ascertained.
“The Commission mandates PFAs to confirm the death certificate of the deceased issued by the Hospital and Police report (where death is by an accident). The officer of the PFA that undertakes the due diligence in the Probate Registry, Hospital or Police Authority shall write and sign a report on the findings of the exercise,” the commission noted.
While promising to ensure that appropriate beneficiary is indemnified by the PFA in the event of payment to a wrong beneficiary, it informed the PFAs that the directive is with immediate effect, stating that there are sanction for infractions, according to the law.
Meanwhile, the National Pension Commission(PenCom) has sponsored a radio programme titled “Retirement Mata” , which debuted on the 26th October, 2018, as part of its plan to enlighten the public on the Contributory Pension Scheme(CPS).
Retirement Mata is a weekly 30-minutes pidgin programme aired every Friday on NAIJA 102.7FM, Lagos at 5:00pm. – Leadership