Hon. Justice Rakiya Haastrup of the Abuja Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court has ordered the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company to convert the dismissal of one of its General Managers, Aminat Ibrahim to termination without notice and to issue her a letter to that effect within 7 days.
The Court further ordered the AEDC to pay Aminat Ibrahim the sum of N19, 513,230.70 (Nineteen Million, Five Hundred and Thirteen Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty Naira, Seventy Kobo) as 10 months’ salary severance package and a prorated salary sum for the period of 1st -18th of March 2022.
Justice Haastrup declared the dismissal of Aminat Ibrahim as wrongful and held that the allegation of conflict of interest levelled against her cannot be substantiated.
From facts, the Claimant- Aminat Ibrahim had submitted that she was employed by the defunct National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) vide an appointment letter dated 24/10/2001 which later metamorphosed into Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and she was absolved into the latter where she performed her duties diligently.
She argued that there were several issues such as non-payment of performance-based pay, and non-remittance of dues to unions amongst others which the union and the AEDC addressed and reached an agreement to settle the issues.
Aminat averred that the AEDC issued her a query on the allegation of misconduct and was later invited to face a disciplinary panel where she denied having any relationship with the alleged sub-vendor and averred that the composition of the disciplinary board was in breach of her condition of service and that her dismissal was actuated by malice.
In defence, the defendant- Abuja Electricity Distribution Company maintained that Aminat was indicted for an act that was tantamount to breach of its conflict of interest rule.
The Electricity Distribution Company stated that whatever trauma Aminat may have endured was not preconceived and that all it did was exercise its right to dismiss its staff in accordance with its rules and regulations, and urged the Court to dismiss the suit with substantial cost.
In opposition, Aminat’s Counsel submitted that the Managing Director of the Defendant does not have the powers or vires to approve the recommendation of the disciplinary Committee to dismiss her client, and urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.
Delivering judgment, the Presiding Judge, Justice Rakiya Haastrup after painstaking evaluation held that no evidence buttresses Aminat’s allegation that the membership of the ad-hoc disciplinary committee was not in compliance with her condition of service.
However, the court held that the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company failed to establish that Aminat Ibrahim is one and the same person claimed to be a co-owner of a sub-vendor firm operating with the company and declared the dismissal of Aminal as wrongful for being predicated on invalid allegation.
“It is therefore so surprising that considering the importance of this document (CAC), the Defendant for reasons best known to it deemed it fit to “leave it in the coffers of its HR” and not furnish the Court with same. The law is settled that burden of proof lies on who asserts; the party whose claims would fail if no evidence is adduced.” The Court ruled.
Justice Haastrup stated that having held that the dismissal of Aminat Ibrahim by the AEDC is wrongful, it would amount to great injustice to watch Aminat Ibrahim be prevented from recovering her severance packages.