Imam condemns Duru’s petition to Buhari over Guarantee Pensions
Following claims by a former member of the House of Representatives, Nze Chidi Duru, that he was being persecuted by the National Pensions Commission (PenCom) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), one of those whose names featured prominently and Chairman of the First Guarantee Pensions Limited (FGPL) Board, Alhaji Kashim Imam, has debunked the claims that Duru was the chief promoter of the company.
Also, another dramatis personae in the saga, former House of Representatives Speaker, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, has however declined to be involved in the bitter struggle for the ownership of the company.
He told The Guardian on telephone that he was more concerned with resolving the quarrels between the parties concerned.
However, Imam says if Duru believes he is in the right concerning what went on in the company since its establishment, he should submit himself to the EFCC for investigation rather than speak from hiding.
In it all, the Director-General, Chinelo Anohu Amazu, has maintained a studied silence, not even returning a call made to her telephone line.
Duru, it would be recalled, had complained of being witch-hunted and locked out of the company he set up by combined forces, including PenCom and some other investors. Imam, however, said he was surprised the former House member was not in jail for alleged fraudulent activities.
Duru had written a 182-page petition to President Muhammadu Buhari detailing how PenCom was involved in the circumstances leading to his ouster from the company. He also wrote another petition to the House of Representatives, but has not shown up to defend it.
His sister, Mrs. Chinyere Ekweonu, who is a director in the Federal Ministry of Justice, was arrested in the stead of Duru by the EFCC because she stood bail for him and he was nowhere to be found; but she was freed from detention two weeks ago after pressure was brought to bear on the anti-graft agency.
At the weekend, Imam told journalists that Duru betrayed the trust and confidence reposed in him, adding that it was a mystery to him that Duru is still walking free four years after all the alleged fraudulent activities were investigated and established in FGPL, in addition to his indictment by PenCom.
Imam said, among others: “By 2011 when Duru exited the company after eight years following his indictment, the company’s account was in red to the tune of N385 million. But following the intervention of PenCom, being the regulatory body, an interim management was formed and the assets of the company grew to about N140 billion with a profit of over N3 billion just within four years.”
“Technically speaking, Duru cannot even be said to have invested a dime in the business. But we did not know this, until much later. The deposit we were supposed to make, that is the initial capital, was never contributed by him. I agree with you, we ought to have verified this ab initio, this we did not do based on trust. But like I said, findings later showed that all the cheques he issued for the payment of his own share of the initial deposit were never presented for clearance. As a matter of fact, another of his friend, Nnamdi Anammah, a supposed investor, is also guilty of the same thing.