Friday, 16 February 2018

26bn Fraud: FG Suspends 6 Top Officials Of NSITF

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has announced a compulsory 30 days leave for six top staff of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF). The affected staff include the General Manager, Legal, Adebayo Aderibigbe; Deputy General Manager, Finance, Henry Ekhasomi; General Manager, Social Security, Ishmael Agaka; DGM, Internal Audit, Zwalda Ponkap; GM, Information, Catherine Ugbe, and GM, Compensation, Dr. Kelly Nwagha.

This is as the Federal Government has inaugurated a nine-man administrative panel of enquiry into the finances of the NSITF and gave it six weeks to turn in its reports. According to Ngige who constituted the panel in Abuja on Thursday, they are to look into the financial state of NSITF with a view to purging it of all negative trails of the last board and management. He urged that the panel be granted unfettered access to relevant documents to enable it swiftly carry out its assignment without hindrance as witnessed in the company in the past.

The Minister noted that while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was already handling the criminal aspects of the infractions, it was necessary to investigate the entire scandal, administratively.“The EFCC had discovered various acts of fraudulent diversions from the Federal Government and private sector contributions amounting to N62.3 billion as at 2015, allegedly perpetrated by the past board and management staff of NSITF,” he stated.

Press Director at the ministry, Samuel Olowookere in a statement indicated that EFCC was already prosecuting the former Managing Director, General Manager, Legal and the Deputy General Manager, Finance and Accounts of the Fund. According to him, the Minister lamented that no accounting audit report and returns had been done in the organisation since 2013 in blatant breach of the Act establishing the fund.

"On assumption of duty in November 2015, I requested for the audit report to enable my office render same in my annual report to the President as required by Section 30 of the NSITF Act, CAP. N88, Laws of the Federation, 2004, but no feedback was given on the matter in 2015, 2016, and even 2017. All efforts made in this direction were frustrated.“In 2017, I specifically requested the Auditor General of the Federation to conclude periodic audit check as required by Section 85(4) of the Constitution. This yielded no result as the officials of NSITF gave no cooperation to the Federal Government auditors,” Ngige said.

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