Court adjourns ex-worker’s suit against bank

The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in Lagos has adjourned till June 28 for adoption of addresses in a suit by a former banker, Mrs Pauline Nsa.

She is seeking N13.885million as outstanding terminal benefits from her former employer.

Justice Kenneth Amadi adjourned after Nsa was led in evidence by her lawyer Nnabuike Edechime and was cross-examined by the respondents’ counsel, Mr Ben Anachebe (SAN).

Anachebe said his clients will file a civil no-case submission rather than calling a witness.

Among documents tendered by the plaintiff include her offer of employment letter, confirmation of appointment, letter of secondment, compensation package, transfer of service, review of compensation package, request for redeployment, letter complaining about short payment, letter of demand, the bank’s response, among others.

The claimant said First Bank of Nigeria Ltd employed her as an Assistant General Manager on an initial salary of N12.7million per annum with effect from March 10, 2008 after leaving UBA as a Principal Manager.

According to her, she was seconded to a subsidiary company, FBN Microfinance Bank Ltd, as the pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer with effect from September 10, 2007, with a reviewed compensation package of N26.7million per annum.

Nsa said following a restructuring, her services were transferred to FBN Holdings Plc, which later divested from FBN Microfinance Bank, following its acquisition by Letshego Holdings of Botswana.

The claimant said before the divestment, she took the company from an initial capital of N1billion in 2009 to N3.8billion when it was sold, adding that she returned to FBN Holdings and requested for redeployment.

“The first defendant (FBN Holdings) failed to redeploy me as requested but rather advised me to apply for voluntary early retirement so that I could be paid all my entitlements.

“Consequent upon the inducement of the first defendant, I had no choice than to apply for voluntary early retirement. The first defendant thereafter paid me N20,468,807.33.

“I contend that I was short paid by the sum of N13,885,726.32 which is still outstanding and unpaid by the first defendant,” the claimant said.

Nsa said based on the defendants’ employee handbook, she was supposed to retire at 60 or after 35 years of service, but was “compelled” to retire at 56.

She is, therefore, claiming N139,014,632, which she said is the remuneration for the four years she would have worked before retirement, and N10million as general damages for “cutting short her banking career, subjecting her to severe embarrassment and indignities, and for emotional trauma”.

Under cross examination by defence counsel, Nsa said she retired as a staff of FBN Holdings.

Anachebe asked her: “The N35million severance package paid to you, was it paid to you as Managing Director of FBN Microfinance Bank or as Assistant General Manager of FBN Holdings?”

Nsa said: “It was directors’ severance allowance paid to all directors of FBN Microfinance Bank. I received it as a director.”

The SAN asked: “Having received benefits from FBN Microfinance, do you admit that you were a staff of FBN Microfinance Bank during the period of your secondment?”

Nsa responded: “I’ve never been a staff of FBN Microfinance Bank.”

Anechebe further asked: “Do you have a handbook saying that you are entitled to payment of salaries for the unexhausted year?” Nsa said: “I don’t have any such handbook.”

When the SAN suggested to the plaintiff that her retirement was “voluntary”, Nsa said: “I was compelled to retire,” adding that she wrote two letters to FBN Holdings seeking to return after it divested from the Microfinance Bank.

The defendants claim Nsa was paid all her entitlements and urged the court to dismiss the suit.

SOURCE

thenationonlineng.net

09 May, 2017

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