NSITF management embezzled N48bn, awarded fake contracts -Ngige

NSITF management embezzled N48bn, awarded fake contracts -Ngige

NSITF management embezzled N48bn, awarded fake contracts -Ngige
Chris Ngige, Nigeria’s Minister of Labour

Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, has accused the suspended management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), saying it misappropriated N48 billion.

The allegation was made by the minister before the investigative hearing at the House of Representatives over the alleged illegal suspension of the management of the agency.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the minister made a startling claim that the management withdrew the amount through fake contracts, proceeds of which were diverted into private pockets.

Ngige at the hearing, pointed out that there were also irregular payments of salaries and allowances of N10 million, which were not in line with the condition of service of the organization or any reference to the Office of the Minister.

According to the minister, without the approval of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the suspended management while on leave, travelled outside the country through first class with their spouses, and paid themselves N9.8 million each.

He further accused them of engaging the services of legal practitioners at the sum of N180 million without the approval of the Attorney-General of the Federation. He added that they spent N146 million on vehicles, and on May 31, 2020, awarded 30 contracts worth N332 billion, which were split into smaller components of N49 million.

The contract splitting was to enable the transactions fall within the threshold allowed by law for the NSITF management to award contracts, the minister disclosed.

According to Ngige, the suspended NSITF management spent N570 million on health insurance outside the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Since 2012, the minister added, the NSITF had not submitted records of its audited accounts to the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, in line with the extant laws.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had since dragged the NSITF management to court on corruption charges.

Ngige while reacting on the alleged illegal suspension of the NSITF management, argued that their suspension went through the laid down procedure and was approved by President Muhammad Buhari, following his recommendation.