House Moves to Investigate PenCOM

Aisha Dahir-Umar

Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja

The House of Representatives Thursday set up an ad-hoc committee to look into the activities of the National Pension Commission (PenCOM) from April 2017 to date.

The House tasked the federal government to present the constituted board of PENCOM to the Senate for confirmation within seven days as prescribed by the Nigerian constitution.

The position of the lawmakers was sequel to the adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Benjamin Waya (Benue, APC) where he charged the House to investigate alleged violation of PenCOM Act, Illegal and unlawful appointments, and provisions and use of public funds.

According to Wayo, “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 four members as executive commissioners respectively.

“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 up till now the request has not been made to the Senate by the President 19 months since the announcement of the composition of the board.”

Wayo added that the Net Assets Value (NAV) of the contributory pension fund as at October 28, 2018 stands at N8.779 trillion and contributors have grown to 8.90 million.

He expressed worries that without proper structure such as the board in place, the N8.779 trillion contributed would be under the care of an acting Director-General.

Citing the case of former PenCOM Director-General who was sacked for allegedly misappropriating about N1billion in a single transaction involving ASO Savings, Wayo alleged that “The acting Director-General, Mrs. Dahir Umar, increased her terminal benefits and that of other senior staff of the commission by 300 per cent against the provisions of the law, adding that “the number of PenCom General Managers were also jerked up from 10 to 17 in breach of extant laws governing the institution of PenCom.”

He therefore stated that “it is dangerous and too risky to leave a treasury of N9 trillion without proper custodians and regulators.”

The Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamiila however, disagreed with Wayo on the non-submission of the list of Board members to the Senate, stressing that “It is the Senate that has refused to confirm the list,” adding that “It is not the fault of the president.”