November 29, 2021

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Senate panel probes NSITF over alleged N60bn fraud

The Senate Public Accounts Committee says it is probing the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) over alleged  diversion and mismanagement of N60.3 billion.

The committee’s chair, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, said his panel had summoned the officials of the agency to appear before it to respond to the queries raised against the NSITF by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation.

A 2018 audit report alleged that the N5.5 billion the agency received as contributions from the federal government in 2014 was diverted to an unauthorised account without explanation for such action.

The report also accused NSITF of paying N38.2 billion as personnel cost from 2012 to 2017, a salary structure that was not approved by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.

According to the audit queries, N17.1 billion was transferred to some persons and companies from NSITF’s accounts with no documentary evidence authorising the transfers.

Speaking when the agency’s Managing Director, Dr Michael Akabogu, appeared before the panel, Senator Urhoghide said the NSITF had over 50 queries to respond to before his panel.

Responding, Akabogu told the committee to summon the former MD to respond to the queries as the alleged financial malfeasance happened under his watch.

The query partly 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 N38,219,919,530.32 by way of personnel cost was made to the staff of the Fund from 2012 to 2017.