NSITF faces Senate panel over ‘N61.1bn fraud’

Top officials of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), are to appear before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts Tuesday over alleged diversion and financial mismanagement of N61.1billion.

Appearance of the NSITF officials before the Senator Mathew Urhoghide-led committee over the alleged financial mismanagement, is sequel to 2018 Audit Report which indicted the agency.

The Auditor General of the Federation in the report , raised different queries accusing management of NSITF of diversion of N5.5 billion from its account to Zenith Bank and allegedly paid N38.2 billion as personnel cost from 2012 till 2017 which was not approved by National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.

Also included in the queries totalling 50 in number is the allegation of transfer of N17.1 billion to some persons and companies from the accounts by NSITF management.

Some of the queries read: “2018 Audit report indicated that NSITF had been implementing a salary structure that is not approved by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission which led to irregular payment of N38,219,919,530.32 billion by way of personnel cost to staff from 2012 to 2017.

“Risk Implementation of unapproved salary structure may result in wastage of public funds, as remuneration may be higher than the productivity level of staff.

“The Director General of the agency is therefore required to provide the approval of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission for the implementation of the Fund’s salaries structure.”

When confronted with the queries last Friday by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South), the Director General of the agency, Dr. Michael Akabogu, pleaded for more time to study them since he had just been appointed.

“I appeal to this Committee to grant me and management of NSITF , more time to go through the reports for the purpose of linking up and bringing before the Committee those who carried out the alleged diversion to defend their actions,” he said.