By Dotun Omolaja, Lagos

 

The National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos has granted the sum of N475, 280,492.48k for payment to a former staff of the now moribund Air Nigeria Development Limited.

Court grants ex Air Nigeria staff N475m compensation over wrongful sack

By Dotun Omolaja, Lagos

 

The National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos has granted the sum of N475, 280,492.48k for payment to a former staff of the now moribund Air Nigeria Development Limited.

 

 

In its judgment, the court ordered the court to pay the granted sum to the affected staff within 30 days for wrongfully sacking five employees of the airline.

 

Also, the court ordered the company to pay another $309, 270.00 all as salaries due to the affected members of the company from May to August 2012.

 

In the judgment, presiding judge, Justice J. T Agbadu- Fishim ordered  ANDL to pay the employees one month salary in lieu of notice and calculate each employees contributory pension entitlement and  pay same to their respective Pension Fund Administrator.

 

He added that the 30 day ultimatum on the judgment also comes with a caveat that failure to heed to it will attract a 10 per cent interest of payment.

 

Five former staff of the company, Livinus Olisakwe, Roland Ahmed, Odunokwe Christopher, Awonaga Israel Jaja Samian Dandison had filed the motion in court for all the sacked employees of Air Nigeria since 5thSeptember 2012 seeking relief for their wrongful termination of appointment via a newspaper publication describing said as illegal and not valid notice.

 

In the suit filed NICN/LA// 2012, enumerated that the defendant breached the employer/ employees agreement by deducting 7.5 per cent  from the claimants and their colleagues total emoluments and as agreed by the employees handbook is also supposed to make its own contribution of 7.5 per cent  totalling 15 per cent  to the pension scheme.

 

According to the claimants, that was not done as the defendants did not remit said funds and was trading with it depriving them the use of same.

 

They also claimed that the defendants deducted taxes from the claimants and their colleagues’ on the PAYE basis but established that there was no tax certificate showing payment further leading to the fact that the defendant merely deducted the taxes without remitting to the appropriate authorities.

 

Recall that after a series of complaints and threats to down tools over unpaid salaries and hazardous working conditions, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) suspended flight operations of Air Nigeria, owned by Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim with immediate effect.

 

The suspension arose from allegations that the airline was in dire financial distress unable to fulfil its obligations to employees, lessors and airline ground services in different countries around West Africa, Middle East and Europe. The airline was accused by a former staff of skipping critical maintenance of its fleet as the owner diverts funds meant for maintenance to other businesses.

 

The airline and its owner were later charged for tax fraud by Nigeria’s federal Inland Revenue service for tax evasion and fraud.

 

The Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), also went on to quiz the then Managing Director of the airline, Mr Kinfe Kahssaye, for allegedly failing to pay company taxes amounting to N4.7 billion 

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