By Ngozi Onyeakusi

The National Pension Commission, PenCom said it is introducing stringent measures to stop fraudulent collection of death benefits by those who claimed to be relatives of deceased workers.
Before now, some unidentified fraudsters under the disguise of being relatives of workers and retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme have been approaching Pension Fund Administrators to collect the pensions of contributors.

According to PenCom , 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.

Consequently, the commission has resolved to come up with 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.”

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.