Trouble Lurks Around In NAICOM Over Purchase Of N4bn Uncompleted Office Building As New

The National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, may have been duped into authorizing N4 billion for the purchase of a new office facility in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council.

Reliable sources claim that the NAICOM management’s statement that they were purchasing a gorgeous office facility that was superior than the one they were already using in Abuja’s Garki 2 District was the basis for the permission.

When the presidential consent was gained, the value of the aforementioned edifice, which had a covert initial valuation of N2.5 billion, had been boosted to N4 billion.

When agency fees and taxes are added, the price of the building is anticipated to go even further, but the commission may also need to spend an additional N5 billion or more to put the carcass into a functional office use.

Vanguard gathered that trouble, however, started when the management of the commission went to draw 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 matters.

At the same time, Vanguard learned that many of the board members were dissatisfied with the discovery that the building for which the huge sum was to be committed was 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.

According to an NAICOM source, the Deputy Commissioner and other senior management employees of the commission opposed the move, claiming that the building was not worth the exorbitant price and that the agency already had a working office complex in place.

However, it was discovered that several important figures in the Presidency and top NAICOM officials had pressed for the money to be removed from the commission no later than August 25, 2022.

It was learned that preparations are being made to remove the funds from NAICOM’s Dollar Account with the CBN.

The Director of Finance and Administration, who recommended against the expenditure until the approval is cash-backed, had been removed from the headquarters and dispatched to the Lagos office, apparently to make way for the cash to be quickly carried out and “spent on agreed formula.”

The NAICOM leadership is said to have personally chosen an assistant director to take over the commission’s finances in place of the DFA as of right away.

Similar to the insurance commissioner, the accountant-office general’s has been notified of signatures in order to facilitate the cash withdrawal.

But on Monday, when the Governing Board Chairman took the members to see the facility, things really got out of hand.

It was gathered that the board members discovered to their chagrin that the purported ‘completed office building’ was nothing but an uncompleted building originally slated for a hotel that could require another N5 billion to complete and put to office use.

An inside source 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.

“Surprisingly, 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.

Vanguard was unable to confirm last night whether the money had been taken out as of Friday’s end of business.

Razak Salami, the NAICOM spokesman, did not confirm or deny the charges when approached, but he did pledge to make clear the organization’s official position the following week.

When approached by one of our correspondents, Salami said, “I will respond to the topic after I settle down.”