The Sun News

Controversy over appointment of new Pencom DG

• Nomination contravenes Pencom Reform Act

By Doris Obinna

Controversy dogs the nomination of a new director general of the National Pension Commission (Pencom), following the recent removal of the former chief executive and all members of the board of directors.
President Muhammadu Buhari last week fired heads of 25 parastatals, including Pencom’s. He appointed news heads for the affected parastatals.
Ahaji Dikko Aliyu Abdulrahman was announced as new Director General (DG) of Pencom,  subject to Senate’s confirmation.  He will take over from former DG, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, whose tenure was truncated midway. Pencom DG is entitled to five years tenure of office, subject to renewal for another term in office.
President Buhari also appointed Funso Doherty as Chairman of Pencom board as well as Akin Akinwale, Abubakar Zaki Magawata, Ben Oviosun and Nyerere Ayim as executive commissioners.
Investigation by Daily Sun revealed that the appointment of Abdulraham as Pencom DG was in breach of the Pension Reform Act 2014.
A study of the Act showed that in the event of the resignation, death or removal of Pencom DG, a replacement should be appointed from the geopolitical zone of the out-going helmsman, who would then complete the tenure.
Section 21 (2) of the Pension Reform Act, 2014 stated: “ In the event of a vacancy (for the chairman, DG or other members of board), the President shall appoint a replacement from the geo-political zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure.”
The former Pencom DG, Anohu-Amazu is from Anambra State, in the South East geopolitical zone. She spent two years and five months of her five years tenure before being removed last week. The nominated new DG of Pencom, Abdulraham, is from the North-West geopolitical zone.
Going by the enabling Act, Anohu-Amazu is supposed to be replaced by someone from the South East, who will complete the remaining part of her tenure of five years. There is also controversy over the circumstance surrounding the removal of the former Pencom DG and the board.
Section 21 of the Pension Reform Act 2014 clearly spelt out the circumstances under which a member of the Commission will seize to hold office. It listed such circumstances as resignation, expiration of term, death, bankruptcy, conviction for a crime, becoming an unsound mind, disability and outright removal by the president, who would then write the affected person.
Section 21 (j) said a member of the Pencom board could be removed if “the President is satisfied that it is not in the interest of the Commission or public for the person to continue in office and notifies the member in writing to that effect.”
This provision was not met in the dissolution of the Pencom board and removal of the chairman, DG and commissioners, as they were not written before the announcement was made.
Daily Sun also gathered that they are yet to receive letters notifying them of their removal from the board.
Another controversy in the Pencom appointment is the status of the new DG, who is currently the chairman, Board of Director of the Premium Pensions Limited. He is a shareholder in the Premium Pension Limited, which may contravene the Pension Reform Act.
Section 19 (5) of the Act said: “The Chairman and members of the Board shall not: (a) own controlling shares in any Pension Fund Administrator or Pension Fund Custodian, prior to and during their tenure of office as Chairman or members of the Board; or (b) be directors or shareholders in any Pension Fund Administrator or Pension Fund Custodian before the expiration of three years after ceasing to be a Chairman or member of the Board.”
Section 19 (6) however, said: “The Chairman and each member of the Board shall, within one month of appointment, declare personal shareholding as well as those of his family members or close associates in any Pension Fund Administrator or Pension Fund Custodian, in writing to the Board.”

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