The House of Representatives on Wednesday mandated its Committees on Public Procurement and Pensions to investigate the alleged violation of the Public Procurement Act and financial mismanagement by the National Pensions Commission (PENCOM), and report back to the House within six weeks.
This followed the unanimous adoption of a motion by Zakariya Galadima (APC, Yobe) that PENCOM, under the guise of investing its funds, deposited about N1 billion into Aso Savings and Loans Plc, Abuja at low interest rate and directed Aso Savings to lend the money to MGSL Mortgage Bank Ltd, where a senior member of PENCOM has interest.
Zakariya said although PENCOM is authorized by the Pension Reform Act, 2014, to invest its funds and generate revenue, such investment has been subjected to gross abuse without compliance with the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
"Recently, the Commission awarded contracts and sundry services without recourse to due process. It unilaterally engaged a consultant, Mr. Olufemi Adeagbo, who is being paid N2.3 million monthly for the past two years," the lawmaker alleged.
He added: "PENCOM also employed an IT consultant, one Mrs Olayemi Keri, who is being paid N3 million monthly plus other allowances, a car and a driver, privileges not enjoyed by the General Managers in the Commission."
He further stated that PENCOM hosted World Pension Summit consecutively in 2014, 2015 and 2016, in which it allegedly spent over N2 billion.
The lawmaker expressed worry that if these alleged reckless misappropriation of funds and lack of adherence to due process are not addressed, the Commission may proceed with similar abuses in future that will certainly put pensioners and the Industry in jeopardy.
He noted: "As an agency of government, PENCOM is required to utilize its funds prudently and efficiently and to make all payments into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) or designated accounts maintained in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), except otherwise approved."
He further recalled that with the enactment of the Pension Reform Act, 2014, PENCOM is required to enforce and administer the provisions of the Act, and other laws on pension and retirement benefits in Nigeria.