The Senate Joint Committee probing the administration of pensions in the country has debunked media reports that it was investigating Industrial and General Insurance Plc (IGI) over alleged complicity in a N4.6 billion pension scam.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Establishment, Public Service, States and Local Government Administration, Senator Alloysius Etok, made the clarification in Abuja in his reaction to IGI's protest that the allegation had done incalculable damage to the image and reputation of the company that has continued to make significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the country over the last two decades.
Senator Etok, who sought to clarify the Committee's position, affirmed that IGI was never summoned to make an appearance for collecting N4.6 billion pension money from the Federal Government.
"I have said it repeatedly that I never said IGI was involved in any N4.6 billion scam; where they (the media) got that from I do not know. That information is a fabrication that we did not know about. Neither me nor any member of the committee ever mentioned N4.6 billion pension scam. We don't know where that came from," he said in a statement.
During the presentation of IGI Plc's position on the NIPOST pension scheme, the company's Acting Managing Director, Mr. Rotimi Fashola, had formally lodged a complaint of severe damage to the company's reputation by drawing the attention of the committee to a false report in a national newspaper that IGI Plc had been implicated in a N4.6 billion pension scam.
Fashola said: "The implications of the damage are very broad due to our global presence and alliances. Our shareholders have suffered financial loss as a result of the impact of this unfortunate incidence, which was widely circulated around the world.
"We urge that in the future, maximum caution should be exercised and that the issuance of enforcement actions capable of destroying the reputation of individuals and corporate institutions should be treated with utmost care."
On the issue of late payment to pensioners, Etok said that it was obvious from IGI's presentation that the problem was from the Office of the Accountant- General of the Federation (AGF) which delayed the payment of pension fund to IGI. He wondered why the AGF office would delay the payment of January to March retirees' pension benefit till May.
He told the AGF: "You collected your salaries up to date but you delayed the payment of pension to retirees from January till May. This is wickedness considering that you and the retirees go to the same market to shop and pay the same amount for items procured."