Industrial court dismisses PTAD ex-workers’ appeal
The National Industrial Court (NIC) has struck out an appeal by three former directors of the Pension Transaction Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) over age discrepancies.
The trio of Roz Ben-Okagbue, Taiwo Ogundipe and Godson Ukpevo were accused before Justice Sanusi Bako of the NIC that, as prescribed under the Public Service Rules, they had exceeded the 50 years age limit at the time of their employment.
Counsel to the defendant, Godwin Iheabunike, told the court that the requirements for prior notice of termination or opportunity to be heard before the termination of their appointment do not arise, as the defendant did not accuse the claimants of any wrong doing but that their recruitment was a fundamental breach of the extant provisions of the public service rules.
Iheabunike argued that the irregularity of appointment of the claimants was discovered by the Federal Auditors from the Office of the Auditor General for the federation in a personnel audit carried out in 2015, which recommended the nullification of their appointments of the claimants on grounds of irregular appointment in breach of public service rules, which stipulates the age ceiling for entry into the public service as 50 years and refund of salaries enjoyed during the period.
The defendant, therefore, prayed the court for an order to dismiss the suit with substantial cost as lacking in merit and contrary to the Public Service Rules.
Counsel to the claimants, Patrick Etim, argued that the claimants were duly employed as Pioneer Directors of PTAD through a rigorous selection process conducted by Michael Stevens, a recruiting consulting firm in 2014.
He said that their appointment was approved by the then Minister of Finance and Federal Character Commission, adding that the claimants shall rely on printouts of the online Advert by Michael Stevens, which he said was posted on September 18, 2014 on hotnigerianjobs.com.
Etim claimed the claimants’ employment was stated in their letters of employment based on the terms and conditions contained in the letter, as well as those contained in the PTAD staff conditions of service.
He stressed that no copy of the conditions of service was given to the claimants at the time of employment but on resumption of duties, a draft PTAD staff conditions of service was brought to her notice.
In his ruling, Justice Bako after hearing from both parties struck out the matter, which gives further room for the claimants to make appeal in future if they so wish.