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By Ngozi Onyeakusi—The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has disclosed that  1,209 deceased workers relatives  were paid N6.18billion under the Contributory Pension Scheme from April to June last year.

The Commission disclosed this in its report on death benefits for the second quarter of 2021.

It said: “During the quarter under review, approvals were granted for payment of death benefits amounting to N6.18bn to the legal beneficiaries/administrator of 1,209 deceased employees and retirees.

“This comprised 835 public (FGN and State) and 374 private-sector employees/retirees.”

The commission said it had earlier put in place stringent measures on benefits payments after it raised the alarm that some fraudsters were collecting pensions of some living contributors.

PenCom had in a recent circular said, “Please, recall the commission’s directive to Pension Fund Administrators via its letter dated 16 May 2013 to pay additional inflows into deceased employees’ Retirement Savings Accounts to legal beneficiary(ies) after initial approval has been obtained.

“However, the commission has noted in recent times an increase in death payments that did not meet the required internal control measures. Hence, the need to strengthen the death payment process.

“Accordingly, the commission directed the immediate cessation of payment of additional death benefit claims without the commission’s approval.”

It said the PFAs must comply with its new directives, which took effect in December 2020, in the processing, approval and payment of death benefit claims.

PenCom said it would review requests for payment of death benefit claims and approve or decline requests, adding that appropriate sanction would be imposed on PFAs for violation of the procedure for death benefits payments.