Staff of the Polytechnic Staff Secondary of the Federal Polytechnic Oko recently made a shocking discovery: their managment have been paying them way below their government stipulated salary for over 12 years and they didn’t know. And the difference, amounting to over N1 Billion has been consistently diverted every month to people in the managment of the Polytechnic. About 32 of the Staff school have been discovered to be victims of this thick web of deciet and stealing.
This is a summary of the situation written by the affected staff.
SOS: 35 STAFF MEMBERS OF FEDERAL POLYTECHNIC OKO WHOSE SALARIES GET LOST IN TRANSIT SINCE EMPLOYMENT
SUMMARY OF OUR ORDEAL
We are employed, documented, confirmed and well numbered, with due employment service numbers, into Federal Polytechnic Workforce between 2002 and 2007
For the 1st 19 months of our employment we were not paid salaries. After the 1st 19 months, we are given only a 3rd of our monthly salaries ever since.
We came to know our true salary status after registering with First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL) in 2006, and our pension updates started coming in hard and soft copies from 2006 to date, reflecting what our true salaries are. Embarrassed at the discrepancy between the payment we receive and the salary reflected from the pension updates, we consulted the FGPL head office, Lagos and the FGPL marketers who registered us. They confirm that Federal Government, through PENCOM, remits our pension contribution to FGPL from the staff nominal roll sent to them by Federal Polytechnic Oko, which includes our names for us to have been receiving our pension updates. Where then are the salaries that gave rise to the pension contributions for these 14 years!
Our housing allowances also get lost with our salaries since employment.
We have cried out, in several ways, to the Polytechnic Management and Council against this injustice all these years to no avail.
From June 2015 to date (as at February 23, 2016), we have not received a dime at all of even that smaller payment being given to us in place of our true salary.
OUR APPEAL is that all our diverted salaries, over the years, be given to us and all our present and future rightful salaries and employment benefits be made sure to us. We are duly employed, confirmed, documented, numbered and pensioned staff of Federal Polytechnic Oko, who have partaken in several Staff Audits of the institution. (See the attached staff list with our service numbers).
All evidence relating to these assertions are well documented and intact.
How could something like that happen, and for that long?
Like most people in the Federal service, they (the staff) were invited to apply for jobs, when they were employed, they were led to believe that they were employed by the Polytechnic, rather than by the Federal government. So the management convinced them that , since they were in the Staff Secondary section, the Polytechnic (instead of the Federal Government) is responsible for paying their salaries. Being grateful to have a job, they didn’t question it. Using that as a covering over their eyes, the Management kept diverting up to 60% of their salaries and giving them a little piece of what rightly belongs to them. Frequently, even the little they get were withheld and delayed for up to 3 months. This means that their colleagues that are working in the Polytechnic will have received their salaries and they will be left waiting, sometimes, they will teach for a whole term and not get paid, even though the Government has released the salaries. But since they have been convinced that they were not Government employees, they didn’t complain, and they didn’t suspect any foul play until PENCOM came along.
Sometime in 2006, 2 marketers from First Guarantee Pensions Limited (FGPL), a Pension Funds Administrator (PFA), came to them and told them asked them to register for a Retirement Savings Account (RSA). An RSA is an account where your pensions are deposited until you are ready to retire. Nigerian Pensions Commission allows people to choose a Pension Funds Administrator (PFA) that will manage your pension, just like you choose a bank to manage your money. This is to make it easy to withdraw your pension from your Retirement Savings Account (RSA) whenever you retire without delays. Most of them didn’t really understand Pensions RSA when they created the account.
This is how it works. When they create the account, they get a PENCOM ID. When it is nearing payday, the woman in charge of pensions in the school (name withheld) sends the Nominal Roll of all the Staff of the Polytechnic being paid by the Federal Government to PENCOM, along with their PFA account, PENCOM ID Payslip, Passports and Appointment Letters. Then PENCOM can verify that they are Government employees, identify their employer, calculate their pensions and identify the PFA (in this case, First Guarantee) to pay it into. So whenever the government releases money for salaries, if PENCOM has recieved the Nominal Roll, they will send the pensions directly to the PFAs then the rest of the salary is sent to the school. Like every other bank account, as soon as money is deposited into the RSA, the staff get a credit alert. Periodically (sometimes, monthly), they got statement letters showing their monthly Pension contributions and the balance. And that was how suspicion started.
Now according to PENCOM act, pension is 15% of your gross salary, part of which is deducted from your salary every month and deposited into your RSA. The 15% is split between you and your employer, 7.5% each. So assuming your gross salary is N100, N7.5 is deducted from your salary, and your employer will bring the other N7.5 to make N15. So N92.5 is credited into your salary account, and N15 is credited into your RSA. So to get your gross salary from your pension, multiply the pension by 100 and divide by 15. PENCOM will specify in the RSA statement that the deposit came from your employer.
So when these people were getting the alert for the their RSA they kept wondering how they were contributing over N13,000 to an RSA when their salary is just over N50,000. When they became highly suspicious was when they kept getting RSA credit alerts when they haven’t received received salary for that month. Sometimes they get RSA alert for 3 months and no credit alert from the Polytechnic. The staff, one of whom tragically died during one of those months in 2013, usually have no other source of income and have to endure long hardship when their salaries are denied them by the Polytechnic. It was baffling to them how they would be tucking away over N13,000 when they haven’t received a kobo. That was what led to the investigations that uncovered this story. Over 30 staff, almost all of whom work with the Staff School division of the Polytechnic, discovered that this has been going on since they have been employed. In the case of one of them who has been employed there for 13 years, she has been receiving less than 60% of her entitlement since she was employed. The sum of all the monies that have been diverted from their salaries since all 33 (or so) of them have been employed is over N1 billion. Lecturers and other staff that work in the Polytechnic did not know about this injustice because they didn’t experience it. They were paid fully when due. As at the time of this writing, they have only just received their June, 2015 salary. They haven’t been paid for July 2015 to January 2016.
Various attempts have been made by the affected Staff to communicate with the management but they have been threatened with sack and reminded that they were employed by the Polytechnic and not Government. Any of one in the Senior level management that has tried to look into the matter has been cautioned till they backed off. Up till recently, the teachers, most of whom are elderly people were too scared to loose their jobs, and of long legal procedures that might leave them out of job and delay the remunerations they seek.
Two week ago, the SSS summoned the affected staff and the management of Polytechnic to Awka investigate the matter. Apparently, the management didn’t know the staff were receiving RSA alerts. They denied knowing anything about the Pension deposits, insisting that they paid the correct salary. The claimed that the pension amount which they manually input on the payment sheet (see payment slip pic) was their real pension, but couldn’t prove where it was deposited. After the meeting one of management reps was reported to have lamented the RSA alerts and claimed that he will stop the alerts.
The SSS said they will invite them to Abuja for further inquiry, but at this point, the staff involved are making frantic efforts to get the justice so they don’t get victimized, the management is making frantic efforts to cover up their terrible injustice and hide the trails and we are making frantic efforts to make the public aware of the situations. Hopefully the EFCC and concerned Agencies will launch an investigation into the matter and make some arrest. Hopefully, justice will be served quickly and the staff will be refunded what is due them.
For more about this situation you can send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mrs Obi on 08037371914 (Vice Principal) or Mr. Awgu Stephen on 08063761322 (Principal).
UPDATE: They will be going to Abuja to meet with the SSS this coming Tuesday.
Picture 1 is the list of all the staff that are affected. Names have been covered to protect their identities. Notice their current salary they receive from the Polytechnic beside the confirmation year, their pension contribution which is 7.5% of their salary, and the actual government stipulated salary at the last column.
Picture 2 is the RSA of one of the affected staff.
Picture 3 is payment slips used by the polytechnic to pay them in January, July, August and September 2009 . Notice that their gross pay is N60,218. Also Notice that January 2009 salary (first column) was paid on 3rd of March 2009. Notice also that there are multiple deductions from the gross pay, including NAT PENSION (written with a pen). None of those deductions are even legitimate. These deductions drop their net take home to N53,338
Picture 4 is the section of the RSA statement showing January, July, August and September 2009 Pension contributions (the months on the payslip in Picture 3). The contributions from employer and employee was N7375.58 respectively, each of which is 7.5% of the true salary. This puts the actual salary for those months at N98,341, but instead this teacher was paid N53,338 for each of those 3 months.
Picture 6 shows sample SMS alert from FGPL showing December 2015 contribution.
But up till today, they have only received up to June 2015. They have not been paid anything for July 2015 till date.