NSITF Clarifies Issues Concerning N17.15 Billion Senate Probe



The current management of  Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has distanced itself from the  2018 audit report by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation which raised 50 queries on misappropriation of N17.158 billion.

According to a statement from the management, it stated that it assumed office on June 1, 2021, and the probe by the Senate has nothing to do with its administration. had nothing to do with the current management which came into office on June 1, 2021.

Ijeoma Okoronkwo,  General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NSITF, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, stated that the financial violations were committed under the management that ran the agency between 2012 and 2017.

“it is overly important to inform the general public that what is under investigation, are not new infractions but cumulative financial violations under the management that ran the agency between 2012 and 2017. It stated further that the probe by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts was in exercise of its statutory oversight functions,

“These infractions are not new. They have in fact been the subject of probe since the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation first raised the red flag in 2015. We make it clear therefore that the negative trails of these breaches, have nothing to do with the present management beyond assisting the Senate Committee, carry out its oversight functions, knowing full well, that government is a continuum.

“On record, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has probed and taken the former Chairman of the Board and five other senior officials, including the Managing Director and three Directors to court over some of the matter.

“Huge sums of money, as well as property, were also recovered, while some of the indicted staff members were equally removed from office.”

“Indeed, when the Senate Committee initiated this current probe, the Managing Director, Dr. Michael Akabogu set up an internal committee to retrieve from First Bank and Skye Bank respectively, detailed transactions involving the fund under the period in probe. The documents were subsequently submitted to the Senate Committee.”

Against the background of reports that the documents used for the transactions under probe have been eating up by termites, the NSITF explained that the contents of the container where they were kept in the premises of the fund had succumbed to elements.

“However, when the Senate Committee further called for the vouchers backing up the transactions, Dr. Akabogu requested that the former Managing Directors under whose tenures, the transactions were made, be invited to provide further answers especially with regards to the vouchers.

“The current management is not in possession of the vouchers and hence, informed the Senate Committee that the contents of the container in the premises of the fund, where the former Managing Directors allegedly left the vouchers have succumbed to the elements.

‘And that this can be substantiated from memos, hitherto written by the fund’s General Services Department on the state of the facility in question,” it said.

She said the statement became necessary to forestall further wrong finger-pointing and mischief in a section of the media directed at the current management of the NSITF.

According to her, the NSITF has since the current management team charted a new course with strategic reforms, strongly anchored on transparency and already, producing positive results.

Olusola  Bello

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