Court orders retiree to pay back N933,013 to ex-employer

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The National Industrial Court, Abuja, has ordered a retiree, Mercy Evborokhai to pay back N933013 to her former employer.

The sum as demanded by her former employer, the Minister, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Thursday covered the period of four months, Nov. 2013 to Feb. 2014 at N277,831 per month.

Justice Olufunke Anuwe, delivering the judgment held that ” the claimant ought to have retired compulsorily from service on Oct. 27, 2013 when she completed 35 years in service.

“Consequently,the claimant ought not to remain in service or entitled to salaries thereafter.

“Any salary received after the date she ought to have retired was undeserved, illegal emolument and must be returned,” the judge said.

Anuwe however, earlier in her judgment ordered the defendant to pay the claimant her salaries from Jan. 2007 to July, 2009 for the period she was wrongly and prematurely retired before she was reinstated.

She equally directed the defendant to remit the claimant’s pension contributions for the period deducted from the said salaries to her retirement saving account.

Eloka Okoye, the claimant’s counsel averred that his client who was employed on Oct. 27,1978 and rose to the position of a Chief Nursing Officer, was due for retirement on Oct. 27,2013.

According to Okoye in his submission, the claimant was however, wrongly retired in Jan. 2007 with effect from Oct. 2006 .

The counsel said at this point the claimant had not reached 35 years of service nor attained the mandatory retirement age of 60 years in accordance to Public Service Rule (PSR).

Okoye added that the claimant contested her retirement, she was reinstated and her retirement date extended to Oct. 2016 after she was told that she was not entitled to any financial benefits and promotion for the period she was disengaged.

Tahir Suleiman, the defence counsel in his statement of defence included a counter-claim against the claimant for payment of the excess salary after her second retirement in Feb. 2014.

Suleiman also sought for the sum of N20 million as general damages from the claimant.

The counsel in his argument also said the claimant cannot demand for payment of salaries for the period of her first disengagement (Jan. 2007 to July 2009), because she did not work.

Joined in the suit as co-defendants were FCTA and Hospital and Management Board, FCT.

 

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