Hon. Justice Polycarp Hamman of the National Industrial Court, Portharcourt Judicial Division has ordered Emval Holdings to pay its former staff Mr. Prosper Nlerum the sum of N122,810 unremitted pension; N157, 615 being money unlawfully deducted from his salary with the sum of N100,000.00 general damages within 30 days.
However, the Justice Polycarp declined Prosper claim for the sum of N2,700,000.00 severance benefits for want of proof, held that the alleged company policy concerning the calculation of terminal benefits was not tendered before the Court.
From fact, the claimant’s- Prosper Nlerum had submitted that from January 2011 to 11th October 2012 he was underpaid to the tune of N157, 615.71 from his basic salary without any notice or explanation. That from April 2007 to October 2012 when he resigned, the firm consistently deducted the N2,700.00 monthly as pension savings amounting to the sum of N181,476.02 which was never paid to any pension administrator.
He opined further that when his solicitors wrote a demand letter to the defendant, he was paid the sum of N589,000.00 rather than N2,700,000.00 being his annual basic salary multiplied by the number of years he worked for.
In defence, the firm averred and denied the existence or applicability of a policy that gives the Prosper entitlement to N2,700,000 multiplied by the number of years served or any amount whatsoever that the statutory pension deductions from his salary were remitted to his chosen Pension Administrator as required by law, and submitted that the instant suit is frivolous, urged the Court to dismiss it with a substantial punitive cost.
In opposition, the learned counsel to the claimant’s F. O. Enajedu Esq. argued that from Prosper’s Retirement Savings Account Statement only the sum of N58,665.6 was remitted urged the Court to grant all the reliefs sought.
Delivering Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Polycarp Hamman held that no document was tendered before the Court by the firm to justify the reduction in the claimant’s salary.
“In any case, what the defendant is relying on as the proof of the full payment of the claimant’s pension remittances is the Letter of confirmation for pension remittance which has been expunged from the court’s records.
“Having examined the Pensions Retirement Savings Account Statement, it’s obvious that out of the total pension deductions from the Claimant’s salary only the sum of N58,665.16 was remitted to the Claimant’s account with his PFA Pensions Alliance Ltd (PAL). The Defendant has not offered any evidence documentary or otherwise to torpedo this evidence which has remained unchallenged.
“In the absence of any document before the court showing the alleged policy of the firm with respect to the calculation of terminal benefits, I do not see how this court can accede to the claimant’s claim in this regard.”