PenCom kicks over alleged Pension Act violation

The management of National Pension Commission (PenCom) has deplored reports that it violated aspects of the revised Pension Reform Act 2014.

The allegations were listed in House of Representatives Resolution against the commission.

Reacting to the allegation during the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee Public Hearing to Investigate the Activities of PenCom and Violation of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 held at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, the Acting Directing-General, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, said it was unfounded, stressing that the members of staff and management team of the commission had always operated in accordance with the Act like it is their bible.

She said it was the contention of the commission that the House of Representatives was misled by the motion moved in the House on November 29, 2018.

The Ad-Hoc Committee had alleged that the commission unduly created an impasse in the matter of appointment and resumption of duty of the members of the Board of the Commission; Illegal creation of additional Directorates and appointment of more directors, thereby increasing the number from 10 to 17 directors; and Illegal increase of commission’s staff end of service benefits by 300 per cent among others.

Speaking on allegation of unduly creating impasse in the matter of appointment and resumption of duty of the members of the Board of the commission, Umar recalled that following the dissolution of the erstwhile management of PenCom on 13 April, 2017 along with the managements of 22 other agencies and parastatals, the Federal Government announced the names of a new management team subject to confirmation by the Senate.

She said: “You will further recall that on 27 May, 2017, the Federal Government reconstituted the nominated team subject to Senate confirmation. In the interim, however, the Federal Government directed the undersigned, as the most senior career staff of the commission, to superintend the affairs of the Commission in acting capacity, pending assumption of duty by the appointed members of the Executive Management. Consequently, we have in the Commission since April 2017, only a transitional management run by career staff of the Commission.

“By virtue of Section 19(3) of the PRA 2014, the President has power to appoint the Chairman, the Director-General and Commissioners of the National Pension Commission, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The career staff of the Commission absolutely do not have any role or influence on decisions taken by either the Executive or Legislative arms of the Federal Government in the matter of appointment to the Board of the Commission. It is, therefore, incorrect to allege that the current transitional management is stalling the appointment or assumption of duty of the new Board members.

“On illegal creation of additional Directorates and appointment of more directors, thereby increasing the number from 10 to 17 directors, Section 30 of the PRA 2014 provides that the structure of PenCom shall comprise Divisions, Departments and Units as may be approved by the Board from time to time.

“The current organogram of the Commission was approved by the Board of the Commission at its 46th meeting held on 12 June, 2015, with a structure of five divisions and 20 departments. Please find attached as Appendix 1, a copy of the Organogram of the Commission for your review. This structure subsists to date and has not been altered. Consequently, it is incorrect to state that additional Directorates have been created by the Commission during the current transitional period.

On the part of the Ad-Hoc Committee, a member, Hon. Benjamin Wayo, said it was wrong for the president to usurp the statutory roles of the board by directing the SGF to act on his behalf.

Chairman of the ad-hod committee, Hon Johnson Agbonayinmam, however, said constitutionally, the president could direct the SGF to act on his behalf, and that the case of the PenCom is not an exception.

Hon. Iboro Asuquo Ekanem, also questioned the legitimacy of the transitional management team by the commission, saying that the PRA of 2014 does not recognise such team.

The Acting DG clarified that transitional management is a mere semantic and an operational word used by the management to work as team.

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