A popular security risk management company, Arksego Nigeria Ltd has been accused by its Grade 12 security officers of duping them over N1.3 billion pension contributions and entitlements accrued to them over a period of five years.
In a four page yet-to-be-submitted petition addressed to the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), copied to the Economic Finance Crime Commission (EFCC) and made available to The City Reporters, the security personnel accused Arksego headed by Mr. Segun Labiyi of deducting a monthly sum of N3, 624.64k each from their salaries in accordance with the pension act without remitting same into their various pension accounts.
PENCOM Act 2004 mandates all companies with a minimum of five employees to make provision for workers’ pension which is a makeup of the deduction from employee monthly salary and employer’s contribution and remit such into the workers various pension accounts not later than seven days after the month has ended. Arksego boasts of having 6,000 personnel on its payroll.
“Each employee is entitled to the remittance of N3, 624. 64k being the total monthly deduction from employee and employer’s contribution. Arksego is to deduct N1, 812.32k from our salaries monthly and add same amount to it as its contribution in line with PENCOM law and remit into our various pension accounts monthly.
“But every month they will deduct from our salaries without remitting into our accounts. Most of us have been sacked, some are dead, while others have left without collecting their pension entitlements which Arksego deducts from our salaries,” an insider told The City Reporters.
The petition claims that Arksego headed by Mr. Labiyi has over the period of five years duped the employees of their pension contributions to the tune of N1.3 billion, and still counting.
The petition further disclosed that Arksego has a retainership agreement which includes pension payment with Sterling Bank Plc, Bank of Industry, Nigerian Breweries, Access Bank, Coca Cola Plc and the Lagos State House of Assembly.
It also stated that in order not to pay the security personnel’s pension entitlement, the Arksego management often sack them without reason and sometimes threaten them with sack to force them to accept whatever salaries given to them at the end of the month.
“There has never been any month the salaries are paid in full,” the petition reads.
Furthermore, the copy of the appointment letter to these security personnel attached to the petition indicates that the annual gross remuneration for the position of a Grade 12 security personnel, which shall be payable monthly in arrears is N50,321.14k and when deductions, including pension, are made, the take home pay is reduced to just N37,750.00 which has never been paid in full.
Most of the security personnel who spoke to our reporter under anonymity confirmed the allegation against Arksego. According to one of them, apart from his pension entitlement which he has never received since the company inherited about 720 of them from the defunct Intercontinental bank despite the money being deducted from his salary every month; there has never been any month he received his salary in full.
“I received a basic salary of N5,830.98k, location allowance of N5833.33k, transport allowance, N5,833.33k, housing allowance of N12,500, furniture allowance, N1,541.67k, entertainment, N2,354.34k, utilities, N4,125.00, medical, (paid to HMO), N3,165.94k, lunch, N2,750, leave allowance, N728.87k, 13th month, N555.49k, weekend/Sunday duty, N5,102.14k.
“When you sum it up it amounts to N50,321.14k, then after deduction of N12,571.14k , from pension, Payee, NHF, 13thmonth, leave allowance, medical and weekend allowance are made, I go home with just N37,750.00. But funny enough, I hardly get the N37, 750 because Arksego management will cut your salary on flimsy excuses and you dare not talk in order not to be sacked,” he said.
Based on this indicting discovery, we contacted Arksego for clarification but our constant calls and visits to its head office located at Gbagada Phase 1, Lagos, were treated with levity.
Last year December, when we finally met the Managing Director of Arksego, Mr. Segun Labiyi and confronted him with the allegation, he offered no reasonable explanation. Rather the proud Mr. Labiyi threatened to deal with our editor with his connections.
“I will call the commissioner of police now and you will be in prison tonight, I cannot be intimidated,” Mr. Labiyi threatened our editor who, unperturbed, offered to give him the contact of the Inspector General of police so Mr. Labiyi could expidite his “prison dreams.”
Not deterred by his boasting and threats, we prodded further to unearth how long this pension scam has lasted, but Mr. Labiyi resorted to hostility to subtly hide the facts which were glaring. To calm the already tensed Labiyi, however, one of his managers who simply identified herself as Funmi denied the allegation, saying that it was cooked up.
As she was attributing the delay in payment to some of the companies they provide security services to – an apparent bid to rescue her boss from a precarious situation – she was immediately halted by Mr. Segun Labiyi who warned her not to say anything on record for reasons best known to him.
Apparently aware that the corpses he buried in the dark were about to be exhumed in broad day light, Mr. Labiyi effected the pension payment of N3424.64k, which is not up to a month’s pension remittance, for the months of January and February 2014.
In December 2013, instead of increased leave allowance of N12,000 and N18,000 for “13th Month,” Mr. Segun Labiyi paid the security personnel N5,438 and N7483 respectively.
Speaking to The City Reporters on the development, one of the security personnel who craved anonymity said “such is the level of inhuman treatment we receive from Mr. Segun Labiyi. We were supposed to be paid N30,000 in December last year for leave allowance and “13th Month” as clearly stipulated in our appointment letters but Mr. Segun Labiyi instead paid N12,921; shortchanging us N17,079 each despite the fact that the monies have been deducted from our salaries.
“This is a man who has not paid us pension allowance since we were employed into this company despite the fact that our monies are being deducted from our salaries monthly for this purpose. We were glad to hear our pension remittance will be paid only to discover that a derisory N3424.64k, which is not even up to what we should get for a month, was paid for two months,” he said with obvious frustration.
To verify this allegation, The City Reporters decided to investigate Arksego and discovered to our sheer trepidation that they got Certificate of Compliance (COC) with number “0000225” only in 2012 for remitting the pension funds of only 314 of its over 6,000 employees to their PENCOM accounts, which amounted to N15, 568,546.00.
We also discovered that the organization is missing on the list of the 1115 organizations that PENCOM issued COCs for the year 2013.
It remains unclear how Arksego obtained the COC for 2012 having remitted the pension payments of only 314 of its 6,000 employees.
Our visit to PENCOM office in Abuja suggests that we may be at the threshold of the revelation of perhaps the biggest pension scam in the history of Nigeria’s private sector unbelievably perpetrated in connivance with public officials as checks by our reporters did not indicate that PENCOM penalised Arkesgo for its gross violation of PENCOM Act 2004.
To be continued…
Originally published by TheCityReporters.com