Reps to probe PenCOM over N9tn alleged impropriety

OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has resolved to constitute an ad-hoc committee to probe the activities of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) from April 2017 to date.
The green chamber also urged the Federal Government to abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the PenCOM Act and remit the constituted PenCOM Board to the Senate for confirmation within 7 days.
These resolutions emanated from a motion raised under matters of urgent National importance during plenary on Thursday by Mr. Benjamin Wayo (APC, Benue).
Raising the motion, Wayo said: “In April 2017, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced the constitution or composition of the Board of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), made up of Chairman,  Director General and 4 members as Executive Commissioners respectively. “
According to him, 19 months since the announcement of the composition of the Board, members are yet to assume office.
“As a statutory agency, the appointment or the Board members is made subject to the confirmation of the Senate,  upon the request of the President to that effect, but which request has up till now not been made to the Senate by the President.
The lawmaker said the Net Assets Value (NAV) of the contributory Pension fund as at 28th October  2018 stands at N8.779 trillion with the number of contributors also grown to 8.90 million to date.
He expressed concern that in the absence of a proper structure put in place i.e the commission’s Board,  the lot of N8.779 trillion is left in the care of an Acting Director General.
The lawmaker further said: “the PenCom is an institution that has the removal of the former Director-General for misappropriation of its funds in a single transaction to the tune of N1billlion to ASO Savings  who was also in financial crisis at the time, for onward access by a family member’s business, which money is yet to be recovered from ASO Savings.
“The Acting Director-General, Mrs. Dahir Umar has unilaterally without an backing of the law increased her terminal benefits and that of other Senior Staff of the Commission by an outrageous 300 percent.
“And has also jacked up the number of PenCom General Managers from 10 to 17 clearly in breach of extant laws governing the institution of PenCom.”
Wayo warned that “it is dangerous and too risky to leave a treasury of N9 trillion without proper custodians and regulators.”
In his contribution during debate, leader of the House,  Femi Gbajabiamiila countered Wayo on the non-submission of the list of Board members to the Senate.
According to him,  it’s the Senate that has refused to confirm the list, adding that it’s not the fault of the President.
The majority voice vote called by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara led to the unanimous adoption of the motion.
The ad-hoc committee is expected to report back to the House within 4 weeks.

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