Ripples from the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Report 2012, which ranked Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt nation out of 176 countries surveyed has forced the President Goodluck Jonathan government to release what could be described as the scorecard of the administration in its fight against corruption. Also, the presidency has described the Transparency International report as a wake up call for the Jonathan administration to increase the tempo in stemming corrupt practices in the country.
Reeling out details of the administration’s crusade against graft, the Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe listed what the president has done quietly in the oil subsidy scheme, pension, power and electoral reforms, and in the management and distribution of fertilizer that have eliminated inefficiency, corruption and instituted fundamental institutional reforms.
Okupe said: “The Jonathan administration has uncovered fraud through the detection and deletion of over 73,000 ghost/fake pensioners from the Head of Service/Police Pension Office; recovery and saving over N225 billion from the two pension offices; capturing the biometric data of over 170,000 pensioners; halting the monthly theft of over N4 billion from the national treasury; reducing fraud by saving over N500 million monthly through the police pension releases, which represents 50 per cent of the N1 billion disbursed monthly in the past; and the discovery of over 50,000 unpaid pensioners and immediate payment of their entitlements.”
Also, Okupe said that the Federal Government discovered a fraud of over N2.7 billion by the Nigeria Union of Pensioners and the seizure of about 200 properties, including choice hotels and cash worth billions of naira from corrupt public officials. This, he said, had led to the arrest and on-going prosecution of pension fraud suspects by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as well as the introduction of a more efficient tamper-proof pension funds management system.
According to the president’s aide, “I must add that the pension reform resulted in a reduction in recurrent expenditure, as the sum of N74 billion was factored into the 2013 budget from funds recovered by the Task Team.”