902 ex-Employees Drag Union Bank to Court over N75.7bn Unremitted Pension – By Henry Ojelu
902 retired members of staff of Union Bank Plc have dragged the bank before the National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos over non-remittance of their pension benefits worth over N76.7billion.
Two of the pensioners, Sanyaolu Sulaimon and Mkpa Jacob who filed the suit on behalf of themselves and the 900 others claimed that the bank since 2008 failed to transfer the actual amount in their Legacy Pension Fund to their retirement savings accounts domiciled with the appropriate Pension Fund Administrators.
They are therefore seeking a declaration that the bank breached the provisions of the Pension Reforms Act, 2004 and 2014
by failing to transfer the legacy pension funds to the respective Pension Funds Administrators.
They are also seeking an order compelling the bank to pay accrued sum of about N13.7 billion of the unpaid fund to the law firm of their lawyer Monday Ubani (Ubani & Co) and another N2billion as general damages for delayed remittances and transfers, malicious intentions, illegal and unlawful withholding of pension funds.
According to the claimants in their depositions, some of the claimants’ whose pension funds were unjustly denied and refused are now deceased and have been unable to enjoy the retirement benefits.
The claimants averred that the problem started after PenCom declined to give approval to Union Pension Scheme.
They claimed that as a result of the defendant’s failure to meet the terms and conditions for the grant of Pension Funds Custodian License and subsequent decline to grant the said license; the bank then decided to discontinue the in-house pension scheme as allowed by law and allowed the claimants and other members of staff of the defendant to choose their individual Pension Funds Administrators to which their future contribution will be transferred
The claimants further averred that after their actuarial valuation was computed by H.R Nigeria Ltd in 2008, the bank fraudulently transferred only the fixed assets of the legacy funds to the two Pension Funds Administrators i.e Premium Pensions and AIICO Pensions respectively holding back the liquid assets of the legacy pension.
They averred that from the expiration of the said Pension Reforms Act of 2004 window in July 2007, only the mandatory monthly contributions contributed by both the claimants and the bank under the Contributory Pension Scheme were fully remitted to their Pension Funds Administrators.
They further claimed that the defendant finally stopped the operation of the In-house pension scheme in January 2013 based on misrepresented pretense that the full and final legacy pension funds of the claimants had been transferred to their respective Pension Funds Administrators; while it was not so.
According to the claimants, following the said illegality, the Pension Funds Administrators created new monthly pension templates with the under remitted legacy pension funds which could no longer equate previously earned monthly pension of retirees by over 70% and the shortfall cuts across all the claimants.
The claimants equally aver that it is not in the interest and spirit of the Pension Reforms Act 2004 and 2014 as Amended that the pension of retired workers should be reduced or recouped in retrospect as done by the defendant; which reduced and depleted the actual pension earnings rightfully accruable and earned by them.
The case has been assigned to a judge and the Defendant having been served is yet to respond to the claims.
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