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Chuks Udo Okonta
A drama ensued today as a shareholder engaged one of the Directors of the National Insurance Commission in a war of words over the handling of insurance companies in the country.
The feud was observed at the annual general meeting of an insurance firm in Lagos. It all started when the shareholder accused the regulator of denying shareholders their return on investment through unnecessary fines and penalties.
He accused officers of the commission of feeding fat on the fines paid by companies, while investor, languished in poverty due to lack of dividend year after year.
He noted that to address the ill treatment and other unethical practices perpetuated by the commission, some shareholders have initiated moves to petition the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to beam its searchlights on the activities of the commission, adding that investors would no longer fold their hands and allowed the regulator destroy their fortunes.
The Director who represented the commission at the event accused the shareholder of displaying ignorance in the public.
It took the intervention of other shareholders to bring the situation under control.
The Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) Sir Sunny Nwosu, in an interview with journalists over the allegation by shareholders, urged the regulator to thread with caution in meting sanctions on insurance companies.
While reacting to the accusation made by the Commissioner for Insurance Mohammed Kari, that insurance companies use shareholders as stooges to cover financial mismanagement, he dared NAICOM to make public the names of the shareholders.
He said: “Mohammed Kari was the Managing Director of NICON Insurance Plc, he was the Chairman of Niger Insurance Plc, thereafter, he went to UnityCapital Insurance to be the Managing Director. For destroying UnityCapital, was it the shareholders that made him incompetent in managing UnityCapital? These are questions, I want you to be very bold, quote me and I will stand anywhere you want me to stand and say I said this.
“Kari is my friend, despite the fact that he was lucky to be made the Commissioner for Insurance, in a civilized world, will any government appoint Kari when he has not accounted for the blonder in UnityCapital? UnityCapital is a quoted investment which I have a right to speak on because I have shares in it. Niger Insurance is crawling today, because he was part of it, and he is talking of shareholders.
“For us in ISAN no insurance managing director will say any of us came to visit him or her, we only look at their financials which they have sent out and review and send them a copy.”