More facts have emerged on why the Presidency, relieved the Director General of National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, and other commissioners, of their position, even as a crisis is said to be brewing in the pension’s office over the relief of its boss.
A senior management staff, who would not want to be named said, the insistence of the management team, led by Amazu, that government should not borrow the N3.5 trillion pension contribution funds for other uses, was the real reason for dissolving the management team, which still has one year to go.
He said on more than three occasion, in 2016, officials from the Ministry of Finance, Budget Office and Debt Management Office, approached the board and management of PenCom on the desire of government to utilize the pension contributory funds, now about N3.5 trillion to run the 2016 budget, and which is to be refunded after the loan facilities it is expecting from the international institutions come through.
“But on each of such meeting, the management would draw attention of the officials to the law establishing the Commission, which makes it unlawful to divert any part of the contributory funds to other uses.
“At a time, the board was pushing the whole affair on the door step of the DG and this was the last straw, which saw the government disengage the CEO with all the commissioners and the board.
But spokesman of the Finance Ministry, Mr. Malakai Adeoye, said the Presidency has every right to make changes in the headship of all its agencies and departments.
“The ministry has no hands in appointing or removing any head of the MDAs.
But he refused making comments on the alleged pressure from his ministry and other offices to have PenCom compromise its position on the pension funds.
He rather stated that the Presidential Committee set up by President Buhari which is headed by Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun to harmonize the outstanding N20 billion pensions owed by the Federal Government, was still working with Pencom and other relevant agencies to submit its report before the removal of the Commission’s boss.
According to the official, the Presidency dissolved heads of more than five parastatals of which PenCom is one of them and wondered why the controversy on this,.
Some staff of the PenCom, on Saturday alleged the invasion of the Abuja headquarters of the agency DSS operatives.
They were said to have ordered staff of the commission out of the premises and also frisked them on their way out to ensure that they did not leave with any official document.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Aliyu Abdulrahman Dikko, appointed as replacement for Anohu-Amazu is awaiting assumption of duties, alongside Funso Doherty, the new Chairman.