Home Finance NAICOM board, management biker over N4bn purchase building price

NAICOM board, management biker over N4bn purchase building price

by Business News Report

Indications emerged weekend that the Federal Executive Council may have been wrongly advised into approving the sum of N4 billion for the purchase of a new office complex in Abuja for the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM. The approval, according to reliable sources, was based on the presentation by the NAICOM management that they were buying a ready-to-use magnificent office complex that is better than what they are currently using in Garki 2 District of Abuja. The said building, which was initially valued at N2.5 billion but surreptitiously rose to N4 billion by the time the presidential assent was obtained. The cost of the building is expected to rise by the time agency fees and taxes are added but the commission may also need to expend additional N5 billion or more in order to put the carcass into a functional office use.

Disagreement was said to have reared its head between the board and management when the management of the commission went to draw down the cash but was promptly informed by the Director of Finance and Administration that there was no cash backing for the payment and that it would be imprudent to expend such cash towards the end of the year that could affect staff salaries and other recurrent expenditure. However many of the board members were dissatisfied with the discovery that the building for which the huge sum was to be committed into is still under construction against the position of management that it was a ready-to-use complex. Many of the board members were therefore opposed to paying the huge cash for the uncompleted structure. A source in NAICOM said that the Deputy Commissioner and other senior management staff of the commission are opposed the move on the ground that the building is not worth the huge amount and that the agency has a functional office complex in place.

But it was learnt that some top officials NAICOM working with some powerful officials in the Presidency have pushed for the cash to be taken out of the till of the commission on or before August 25, 2022. It was further gathered that moves are being made to get the money out of the Dollar Account of NAICOM with the CBN. Apparently to pave the way for the cash to be easily taken out and ‘spent on agreed formula’, the Director of Finance and Administration, who advised against the expenditure until the approval is cash-backed, has been removed from the headquarters and sent to Lagos office. In the place of the DFA, the leadership of NAICOM has handpicked an assistant director to handle the finances of the commission with immediate effect. Similarly, the commissioner for Insurance has gone ahead to effect the signatories with the accountant-general’s office so as to pave the way for the cash withdrawal. However, things came to a head when the Chairman  of the Governing Board, led the members to inspect the building.

It was gathered that the board members discovered to their displeasure that the said completed office building was an uncompleted building originally meant for a hotel that could  require another N5 billion to restructure  before it can be put to office use. An inside said, “The Commissioner got the approval  from FEC to acquire a befitting office complex for NAICOM but the approval is yet to be backed with cash.nSurprisingly, the man became desperate after being advised to get cash backing before drawing the cash. The commissioner decided to boycott necessary protocols by transferring the finance director and mounting pressure on an assistant director in the finance and accounts department to proceed to the Accountant General’s office to effect a change in the mandate to enable him move out the money.

The union and staff members are aggrieved and are battle ready should the purchase be carried out. This is so as some of them contacted claimed that there would be no money left in the account should the property be purchased in this budget year.

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