Three more persons have been sent home from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) as an overseas link to the pension fraud has been detected.
Sources yesterday told Stabroek News that the ongoing investigation by the NIS revealed that some overseas pensioners may also have been defrauded by employees and as such the fraud now amounts to more than $900,000.
Seventeen workers have now been sent off the job as investigations continue into the fraud that was detected sometime last year even as sources continue to question why no one has been placed before the court although all the evidence reportedly points to the involvement of four former employees.
Police are still saying that they are continuing investigations but no charges have been laid.
And the NIS is still to issue an official statement on the fraud and its General Manager, Doreen Nelson, through her secretary has said that she is still in the process of answering the prepared list of questions this newspaper sent at her request when an interview was sought with her. This newspaper has been told that the four employees saw a way to “exploit the weaknesses” in the NIS system and they were able to print the pension books in the names of the dead persons even though the Records Department would have inputted information which indicated that the persons died. Sources said this was because of a weakness in the computer system.
Sources told Stabroek News that instead of sending home the employees, management at the NIS should seek to plug the weaknesses in the system to prevent the recurrence of such frauds.
Stabroek News has been told that vouchers are printed in Georgetown and then sent to the managers around the country for their signatures even though they do not see any supporting documents for the vouchers.
The sources questioned how the internal auditors hired by management did not highlight the obvious weaknesses at the organisation and once again called on managers to hire a consultant to ensure that the loopholes are filled. It was pointed out that the lives of several persons are being destroyed because management is seeking to “appear as if they are doing something” even though there is no evidence implicating the employees. The source described the sending home of the employees as “collective managerial bungling.”
This newspaper was told that the details of four dead pensioners were used to effect pension payments.
According to reports the fraud started early last year and it involved the printing of pension voucher books for the four pensioners who had died in 2006.
The source said the fraud was discovered in November last year and it involved claims being made for the four dead pensioners dating back to 2006.