A fresh crisis is currently brewing in the the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, over the acquisition of an uncompleted new office complex in Abuja, The Whistler is reporting
It was gathered that the management of the commission led by Thomas Olorundare Sunday, the Commissioner For Insurance/CEO, may have deceived President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council into approving 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 better than what they were currently using in Garki 2 District of Abuja.
The property, according to findings, is an abandoned uncompleted hotel carcass located at the Gudu District of Abuja
The said building, which was initially valued at N2.5 billion, was surreptitiously raised to N4 billion by the time the presidential assent was obtained.
The cost of the building is expected to further rise by the time agency fees and taxes are added but the commission may also need to expend additional N5 billion or more to put the carcass into a functional office use.
The deal, it was learnt is currently being opposed by members of the top management team of NAICOM.
It was gathered that the Deputy Commissioner in charge of Finance and Administration Mr Oba Oluniyi and other members of the top management opposed the decision to buy the property.
The deal, according to further findings is being opposed because any attempt to withdraw N5 billion from the coffers of the Commission will impact negatively on the welfare of workers particularly in terms of payment of salaries.
A source said that the Deputy Commissioners, the Directors and the legal department did not subscribe to the proposal to acquire the property months with just few months to the end of the Buhari administration. For some reasons, they felt the decision to acquire the property was inimical to the interest of the commission.
Investigations revealed that the top management was not convinced on the issue of the property because the NAICOM has a beautiful office complex which meant that acquiring a new office at a time of paucity of of funds is not a priority.
It was further gathered that the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed whose ministry oversees the commission observed that NAICOM had a good office building/complex and wondered why the management should acquire a new building.
It was further stated that the Commissioner who is irrevocably committed to the acquisition of the property has started effecting changes in the management structure of the commission.
Mr. Oluniyi, the director in charge of Finance and Administration was said to have been transferred out of Abuja to Lagos to ensure that all perceived obstacles to the deals are cleared.
The Commissioner for Insurance was also said to have ordered a process to change the signatory to the account of commission at the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to pave the way for the smooth execution of the deal.
It was gathered that moves are being made to get the money out of the Dollar Account of NAICOM with the CBN.
However, things came to a head on Monday when the Chairman of the Governing Board, led the members to inspect the building.
It was learnt that the Chairman of the Board, Dr. Abubakar Sani, advised against the acquisition of the building on the ground that it would require another N5bn to complete the carcass.
A source said, “The man (Commissioner for Insurance) is insisting on acquiring the building. Information reaching us is that the Commissioner boycotted the necessary protocols.
“He transferred the Director Finance and Administration and started mounting pressure on an Assistant Director in the Finance and Account’s Department to proceed to the Accountant General’s office to effect a change in the mandate to enable him to move out the money and this they have started doing. As I am talking to you, the process is ongoing.”
Attempts to get comments from the NAICOM was not successful as calls made to the Spokesman of the Commission, Mr Rasaq Salami did not go through.