Crisis Rocks NAICOM Leadership Over N5Billion Naira Property Deal

…….Governing Board, Commissioner on War Path as Top Management Staff Plead with Minister to Save Commission from Collapse

The leadership of the Nigeria Insurance Commission is embroiled in a crisis over an attempt by the Commissioner, Mr. Olorundare Sunday Thomas to acquire a multibillion property for the commission.

It was gathered that the top management of the Commission opposed the decision which they described as curious.

A source at the commission confided in our reporter said 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 said to be located in the Gudu District, Abuja.

The source said that the Deputy Commissioner and other senior management staff of the commission opposed the move on the ground that the approval for the acquisition of the property does not have cash backing in practical terms.

It was learnt that they opposed it on the ground that releasing a huge amount of money (N5 billion) to acquire the Gudu property which they described as an abandoned uncompleted hotel carcass would be harmful to the worker’s welfare, especially in the area of paying salaries to them.

The source said that the Deputy Commissioners, the Directors, and the legal department did not buy into the project to acquire the property months into the end of the Buhari administration.

For some reason, 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 serious scarcity of funds is not a priority.

It was learnt a cabal claiming to be close to the Presidency is behind the urge to acquire the new office complex and is pushing for it with maddening urgency.

It was further gathered that the Minister of Finance 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 also gathered that the Commissioner who is irrevocably committed to the acquisition of the property has started effecting changes in the management structure of the commission.

A 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 source said that others opposed to the decision of the commission are panicky now as they expect more drastic steps to clear all obstacles before the realization of the project.

Our reporter gathered that the Commissioner has also 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.

Our reporter gathered that the board discovered to the chagrin of the members that the purported building was a massive carcass.

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 N5 billion to complete the carcass.

“Surprisingly, the man is insisting on acquiring the building. Information reaching us is that the Commissioner boycotted the necessary protocols. He transferred the Director of Finance and Administration and started 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 to move out the money and this they have started doing. As I am talking to you, the process is ongoing.” The source said.

“Information flying out there is that the carcass was initially in the market for N2.5 billion and now ready to be purchased at N4.0 billion of which when commission and taxes are added would be in the region of N5.0 billion.

“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 will be no money left in the account should the property be purchased.

“As at last week when the CFI met with the Management of the Commission, he was categorically told that the purchase should be shelved till more money comes in but it seems the advice was ignored.

“The staff were shocked that the CFI went to the Accountant General’s office to put pressure for a change of signatory having transferred out the DFA of the Commission for the same reason.”

Our reporter gathered that concerned members are calling on the Minister of Finance to step in to save NAICOM from collapse.

Our correspondent contacted the Spokesman of the Commission, Mr. Rasaq Salami, who asked him to send a text on the matter.

The message seeking clarification on the raging leadership crisis in NAICOM was sent to his WhatsApp and message boxes.

However, he asked to be given till Monday to respond to the issues raised.

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