Former Chairman of the EFCC, Mrs Farida Waziri, on Tuesday in Abuja said commercial banks were the main obstacle to the effective administration of pension funds in the country.
In her testimony before the Senate joint Committees investigating the management of pension funds in Nigeria, Waziri accused the banks of colluding with the pension administrators to defraud pensioners.
``The banks are not helping matters because they want money at all costs.
``As a result, they collude with the people who handle this pension money, and whether it is the money of a dead man or blood money, all they are interested in is getting deposits.''
The former EFCC boss described the fraud discovered in the administration of pension as" monumental".
She said, ``I did not believe that civil servants will do this to pensioners knowing fully well that they too will one day be pensioners.''
On why it took her so long to appear before the Committee, Waziri claimed that she had to flee the country following threats to her life after her removal.
``I had to leave my house and later the country because there were threats to my life and my security was withdrawn by the former Inspector General of Police.''
On allegations of selective prosecution of those accused of mismanaging pension funds, the former EFCC chairman said the commission acted based on the merits of the petitions it received.
According to her some petitions lacked sufficient evidence for prosecution.
Waziri denied receiving money from the Pension Task Team to travel to Atlanta, United States, for bio-metric verification of pensioners in Diaspora.
She also told the committee that during her tenure, large sums of pension funds were recovered from various accounts on daily basis.
The committee directed her to furnish it with the details of the amount of money recovered during her tenure.
Meanwhile, an accountant with the Police Pension Office, Mr Christian Madubike told the committee that his account along with several others had been used at various times to transfer pension funds.
Madubuike’s account was used to lodge money officially indicated for EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, while Waziri's `money' was lodged in the account of one Mr Polycap, who had since refunded the money to government.
He said he acted on the directive of his boss, Mr John Yusuf, who later claimed the money.
According to Madubike, this was the practice in the office and claimed that as a junior officer, he could not disobey his boss.
``My name appeared on the list. And although I am a junior staff, on one occasion, Grade Level 15 was attached to my name and on another occasion, Grade Level 16.''
The probe took an interesting dimension when retired Colonel Bello Fadile, the counsel to some of those accused of mismanaging the pension fund, told the committee that his clients would no longer appear before the committee.
Fadile told the committee, that his clients were already in court as such appearing before the committee would be ``subjudice''.
According to him, Subjudice, a Latin word for "under judgement", means that a particular case or matter is currently under trial or being considered by a judge or court and so may not be tried anywhere else.
The committee, however, argued that they were only investigating and not trying anyone, but agreed to receive written submissions from them.
The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Aloysious Etuk (PDP-Akwa Ibom), disclosed that members of the committee have received several threats from unknown persons since the commencement of the probe.
He assured that the committee would not be cowed in its determination to bring to justice those found to have defrauded pensioners in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee has concluded its public sitting and is expected to submit its report to the Senate within two weeks. (NAN)