The Senate Committee on Public Accounts yesterday uncovered how officials of Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund spent N38bn on salaries for five years without approval by the federal government.
The committee, relying on a 2018 report by the Auditor-General for the Federation, said the NSITF implemented a salary structure not approved by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission between 2012 and 2017.
The audit report was submitted to the committee which is probing expenditures of federal government agencies.
The audit query reads: “Audit observed that the Fund had been implementing a salary structure that is not approved by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission. As a result, irregular payment of N 38,219,919,530.32 by way of personnel cost was made to the staff of the Fund from 2012 to 2017.
“Implementation of unapproved salary structure may result in wastage of public funds, as remuneration may be higher than the productivity level of staff.
“The Managing Director is required to provide the approval of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission for the implementation of the Fund’s salaries structure.”
But the Managing Director of the NSTIF,
Michael Akabogu, told the panel that the amount was approved by the salaries commission through a letter dated July 4, 2019.
However, the committee, chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, observed that the letter was written years after NSITF started implementing the salary structure.
Urhoghide said from the 12 out 50 queries investigated so far by the committee, about N84bn was misappropriated within the period under review.
“They depleted our resources, just few human beings who are mindless,” he said.
The committee, therefore, sustained all the 12 queries considered so far.