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Industrial Court validates Pension Commission power to enforce company’s pension compliance

266 Wednesday 14th July 2021

His Lordship, Hon. Justice Edith Agbakoba of the Abuja division of the National Industrial Court has declared that National Pension Commission is empowered under the Pension Reformed Act to enforce compliance against Hadfat Pharm. Ltd with recourse to due process, that the firm has legal obligation to make contributory pension remittances to Pension Fund Administrators.


The court ordered Hadfat Pharm. Ltd to immediately grant the Pension Commission or its agent's access to its relevant pension documents and records for inspection, examination, and investigation to determine the firm compliance with the mandatory pension contribution of its employees from January 2005 till date.


Justice Agbakoba further ordered the firm to forthwith remit any and all outstanding pension contributions in favour of its employees as may be determined from the inspection, examination, and investigation of the firm records to the Pension Fund Administrator.


From facts, the claimant- National Pension Commission had sought for an order directing the firm to furnish evidence of remittance from 1st January 2013 till date of its employees’ monthly pension deductions forthwith including its own contributions paid to the Employees’ Pension Fund Administrators or payment of the aggregate sum for onward remittance to the Employees’ Pension Fund Administrators.


In Defense, the defendant- Hadfat Pharm maintained that it has made available to the commission the necessary documents within its disposal, that the computation made by the commission was fraught with irregularities and wrong imputations. 


In addition, the firm stated that as of August 2012, almost all the members of their Staff of whom the commission had their schedule of salary had resigned their appointments and the company ceased to be liable to the commission for any further pension remittance, denied receiving a letter of request for accounts reconciliation, urged the court to dismiss the case for being an abuse of court process.


In opposition, counsel to the commission, Gerald Ajoku Esq argued that the firm refusal was in contravention and breach of the provisions of law, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.


Delivering the judgment after careful analysis of the submissions of both parties, the presiding judge, Justice Agbakoba held that National Pension Commission is mandated, empowered, or authorized by the establishment Act to demand pension records of the firm, either directly or through their disclosed agents, and enforce, but with due process of law, that the company is under obligation to make deductions and remit same as the law designates.


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