The Federal Government is set to ask the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate allegations of corruption levelled against the management of the National Insurance Commission.
A top government official, who confided in our reporter on Thursday, said the government would next week forward a petition written by the NAICOM workers against the Commissioner for Insurance, Alhaji Mohammed Kari, and other management staff to the EFCC.
The source said, “The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Isa Dutse, has summoned a meeting with the management of NAICOM. The meeting is going on now at the ministry, but what I can tell you now is that we have made it clear that all the allegations will be fully and independently investigated.
“This is a government that is determined to fight corruption and nobody is above the law.”
When asked if the EFCC would be invited to carry out the probe since the investigation would be independent, the source replied, “That is want it means.”
The Chairman of NAICOM’s branch of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services’ Employees, Mr. Abdullateef Ibrahim, said in an interview with our reporter that the union had sent the petition to the Presidency.
He said that the letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari was submitted on November 28 and that a copy of the petition was also submitted at the Ministry of Finance.
Calling for a thorough investigation of the issues raised in the petition, Ibrahim said that was the only way to guarantee industrial harmony in the organisation.
He expressed frustration that the Finance ministry had not invited the workers to substantiate their claims, adding that this ought to have been done since last week when protests against the management began.
Ibrahim said the workers were worried about the collapse of governance and administration structure at the commission.
He added that the management style of Kari had rendered the directors ineffective.
Apart from the issue of alleged mismanagement of funds and abuse of office by the management, he claimed that another thing that the government should investigate was the reason for the delay in compliance with the migration from the compliance-based supervision to risk-based supervision.
Ibrahim stated, “We have submitted a copy of our grievances to the Presidency and we have sent a copy to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun. Before the incident, a lot of things had happened and we told the Ministry of Finance that if they don’t look at the issues, we could not guarantee industrial harmony in NAICOM.
“The petition submitted to the Presidency was addressed to Mr. President and that was done on November 28. While that of the Finance ministry was sent the same day and addressed to the Finance minister.
“We are waiting for them to call us so that we can bring up the issue of collapse of governance and the administration system at NAICOM.”
When contacted on the development, the spokesperson for NAICOM, Mr. Rasaq Salami, said that the grievances of the workers began when the inspectorate department was transferred from Abuja to Lagos.
He said the transfer affected the chairman of the workers’ union, adding that the decision infuriated his colleagues, who had preferred that he would remain in the Abuja head office of the insurance industry regulator.
Salami denied allegation of mismanagement at the commission, adding that since a board had not been constituted for NAICOM, the relocation of the inspectorate department was approved by the supervising minister.
He also denied the allegation that the workers were intimidated by law enforcement agencies, adding that the security agencies were deployed to the commission to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
When asked to react to the crisis rocking the commission and the workers’ claim that they had petitioned the President on the matter without any action taken against the insurance commissioner, the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Mr. Femi Adesina, asked one of our correspondents to talk to the Ministry of Finance that supervises the commission.