Kaieteur News – High Court Justice Damone Younge has ordered the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to pay a former staffer of Toolsie Persaud Limited (TPL), Shariff Zainul his full benefits.
The ruling was made after Zainul was able to prove to the court that he worked with the company for several years and that the contributions were deducted from his salary.
The High Court ordered the NIS to credit Zainul 354 contributions which his former employer, TPL, failed to remit to NIS while he worked there from 1992 to 2000. The NIS was also ordered to pay Zainul his NIS Pension effective October 16, 2011, to the date of his 60th birthday.
“The applicant should not be made to suffer for failure of the respondent [NIS] and TPL to reconcile their records or to have an accurate record of the contributions made by the applicant, for the failure of TPL to pay over the applicant’s contributions made by the applicant, or for the failure of TPL to pay over the applicant’s contributions to the respondent,” the judge said in her decision.
In court documents seen by this newspaper, the applicant states that on attaining the age of 60, he made an application to the NIS for the payment of his pension and was informed by the insurance entity that he did not qualify to be paid a pension because he did not have sufficient contributions.
Zainul was then informed that there was no record of any contributions for him for the period 1992 to 2000 and that he had amassed only 374 contributions which entitled him to the payment of an Old Age Grant.
The man subsequently appealed to the Appeal tribunal against NIS’ decision not to pay him. He was advised to procure testimonies from two of his former work colleagues who worked with him during the period of his employment that could not be accounted for by NIS.
The Applicant obtained a letter from the former Personnel Officer of TPL, Krishendatt Sahadeo, and statutory declarations from two former employees of the company, Surujpaul Danpaul, and Kenneth Gordon, attesting to the fact that he was an employee for the years in question.
He also presented pay slips from TPL evidencing NIS deductions for the years 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998 were also submitted.
However, the man was still told that his appeal was unsuccessful. As a result, he hired attorney Christopher Thompson from the law firm Christopher Ram and Associates to take the matter to court.
In a ruling dated November 27, Justice Younge pointed out that in the court’s considered view, that contribution schedules should by no means take ‘precedence’ over later documents to the exclusion of those later documents. The respondent is required to consider all documents put before it before coming to a decision on the calculation of an insured person’s contributions and his or her entitlement to pension benefits under the Act.
She continued that, “the applicant, having been unable to obtain his employment records from TPL despite his valiant efforts, did what he could to provide proof that he was employed by TPL and that he made the requisite number of NIS contributions to entitle him to the payment of his pension.”
The judge noted that former Personnel Officer at TPL, Krishendatt Sahadeo substantiating that Zainul worked with the company from May 4, 1992, to December 31, 2000, is “good and sufficient proof of his employment there.”
The judge stated too that statutory declarations dated May 7, 2019 and attributed to Surjupaul Danpaul and Kenneth Gordon “attesting” that the man worked there from 1992 to 2000 were also “good and sufficient evidence” that Zainul worked with the company.
In his evidence before the court, Zainul also produced pay slips from TPL showing NIS deductions for 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998 to the NIS tribunal but was informed orally that his appeal was still unsuccessful.
As such, Justice Younge ordered that Zainul be paid his pension with interest on his arrears of pension at a rate of 6 percent per annum from October 16, 2011, the date of his 60th birthday, to November 27, 2023, the date of judgment, and thereafter 4 percent per annum until fully paid. The court said that the sums received by Zainul as grants must be deducted from the arrears of pension.
NIS was also ordered to pay the man GY$150,000 in costs by December 29, 2023.
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