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Labour ministry raises panel to probe suspended NSITF officers

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has set up an independent panel to probe alleged financial misconduct levelled against suspended management team of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

This comes as the management team led by Adebayo Somefun, insisted that it got approvals for its training programmes and procurement of goods and services.

He explained that he had only attended the annual International Labour Conference (ILC) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA) once each since he was appointed and denied claims of frivolous spending levelled against him.

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He said the suspended management grew investment polio of the NSITF to about N9b within three years from N600m it met in May 2017 when the team was appointed, adding that the investment had yielded about N2b annually.

Inaugurating the panel, which was headed by Chairman of NSITF Board Audit Committee, Ibrahim Khaleel, Ngige highlighted the panel’s Terms of Reference (ToR) to include a review of infractions on the Procurement Act and Financial Regulations raised by the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF’s) report from 2015 to 2019 and the yet to be addressed administrative panel’s account on the AGF’s periodic report.

“It will review the issues raised in the 2018 and 2019 budget performance utilisation in the procurement, especially training and others raised by the National Assembly’s Joint Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity in the December 2019 defence of the 2020 budget,” he said.

He pointed out that the panel will also consider the House of Representatives plenary on December 12, 2019, the auditors in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment on the NSITF 2019 budget performance, the 2018/2019 preliminary AGF’s periodic check report and unanswered queries.

“It will also review cases of gross misconduct involving these officers and others that are contrary to the public service rules and 1999 Constitution as amended, and particularly disobedience to ministerial directives and Federal Executive Council decisions on 2020 budget review,” he added.

Ngige also charged the panel to investigate other matters that would strengthen NSITF’s operations and make recommendations including the restructuring of the affected departments and disciplinary actions for all found culpable.

“I expect due diligence and thoroughness in the discharge of this national assignment, which will hopefully purge the NSITF of negative connotations acquired since the past NSITF board and management, as well as restore the confidence of contributors to the Fund,” he stated.

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Chris NgigeLabourNSITF
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