Senate probes NSITF for alleged N61.1bn diversion

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The Senate, through its Committee on Public Accounts, has begun a probe into the alleged diversion of N61.1 billion by officials of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

The committee, led by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, is hinging its investigation on the 2018 report of the Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF).

According to the report, the agency is being accused of diverting N5.5 billion.

In another query, NSTIF was alleged to have paid N38.2 billion as personnel cost from 2012 to 2017 without approval of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, in addition to payment of N17.1 billion to some persons and companies from the organisation’s accounts.

Urhoghide said that the agency has over 50 queries to respond to, the highest in the report under review.

The Director-General of NSTIF, Dr. Michael Akabogu, urged the committee to duly scrutinise the report and summon him only for those that concern him and refer others to his predecessor.

Part of the report read: “Audit observed that the Fund has 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 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 Managing Director is required to provide the approval of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission for the implementation of the Fund’s salary structure.”

Another query noted: “Audit of the Fund’s bank statements for the period under review revealed that contributions received from the Federal government in 2014, amounting to N 5,500,000,000 were diverted.

The third stated: “Audit observed that for the period January 1 to December 20, 2013,

N 17,158,883,034 was transferred to some persons and companies.

“However, payment vouchers relating to the transfers together with their supporting documents were not provided for audit. Consequently, the purpose(s) for the transfers could not be authenticated.”

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