The House of Representatives Ad hoc committee on the activities of National Pension Commission and its administrators, has threatened to issue a bench warrant to compel Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs to appear before it.
According to the committee, it would have no option than to seek a bench warrant against the PFAs if they fail to appear before it at its next public hearing on April 4 (today)
The chairman of the committee, Rep Johnson Agbonayinma (APC-Edo), made the threat on Wednesday in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.
It would be recalled that the House of Representatives had, after a resolution, ordered the committee to commence investigations into the activities of PenCom since April 2017 over allegation of violation of the Act establishing the commission and the N9trn pension fund controversy.
However, the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOP) had, in two separate letters dated Jan. 28 and April 2, intimated the committee that the PFAs would not be able to appear before the committee on Jan. 29 and April 4.
According to PenOp, the PFAs would not attend the meetings due to prior engagements slated for the same day.
Agbonayinma however cautioned the PFAs against disobeying the order of the House, adding that the PFAs and other stakeholders in the industry were deliberately avoiding the ad hoc committee.
According to him, the pension association, which the committee did not write letters to or invite, has no right to derail the lawmakers from holding the investigative hearing.
”If they fail to appear before the committee, we would have no option than to apply the law.
”That is, we would have to seek to issue bench warrant so that they can be compelled to come to appear before this ad-hoc committee.
”We would do just that to PFAs that refused to appear before this ad hoc committee ànd any organisation, not just the PFAs that are invited but the banks and PenCom,” he said.
The committee chairman also expressed concern over the development, saying the committee would not succumb to any deliberate effort to undermine the committee’s work.
”We have been having different issues; people trying to avoid coming to the public hearing.
”We had our first public hearing. In order for us to continue with our investigations that was slated for Thursday, I believe some people are trying to derail the wheel of the progress of our ad hoc committee.
”We invited different PFAs, we invited the PenCom, the acting DG, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and many civil societies who submitted document related to the subject matter.
”We never invited the so-called Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp).
”But we are surprised to be receiving letters; the first one we received before our public hearing telling us that the PFAs will not be able to attend under the umbrella of PenOp.
”There was no time this ad hoc committee wrote a letter to PenOp. They have been representing the various PFAs we have invited, the administrators, some of the banks and the custodians of the funds,” he said.
Agbonayinma further disclosed that committee was surprised to receive another letter from the association on April 3 ”writing to us that the pension operators will not be able to attend the investigative hearing slated for tomorrow (April 4).”
condemning the development, the lawmaker described the move as ”a plot to derail the wheel of progress of the ad hoc committee.”
”This has to do with the Nigerian people, the workers who have worked and deserved to make sure that whatever money is deducted from their accounts should be put to use and the PenCom must do the needful,” he said.
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