N84b misappropriated in four years by NSTIF — Senate

The Senate on Monday disclosed that about N84 billion was mismanaged by the management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund within four years from 12 out 50 queries investigated so far.

The Chairman, Senate Public Accounts Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, who made this disclosure, said the agency is a cesspool of corruption with the investigation so far by the committee.

According to Urhoghide, 12 out 50 queries investigated so far by the Committee showed that over N84 billion was misappropriated.

He said: “Just unfortunate in a pace of four years, they depleted our resources.

“Just few human beings who are mindless.”

He added that it is unfortunate that the Management of NSTIF and board of NSTIF colluded between 2012 and 2017.

He said: They are all guilty, they are implicated, they stole the place dry.

“The agency is most defiant and most nutritious.”

One of the 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 N38,219,919,530.32 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.”

“Recommendation: 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 NSTIF, Dr. Michael Akabogu, claimed that the amount was approved by the through a letter dated July 4, 2019.

However, when the Committee looked at the letter from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission on the illegal salary at the commission, it was observed it was written five years after the Commission started paying the salaries.

The Committee further discovered in the letter from National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, an objection was raised about the payment of unapproved salaries by the commission.

The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission in the letter said in part: “However, the following anomalies are observed in the consolidated salary structure: General Manager and Deputy General Manager are both placed on GL17 respectively and One GL17 (General Manager) salary grade has 8 steps while another GL (Deputy General Manager) and GL 16 salary grades have 5 steps each.

“The Fund is, therefore, advised to arrange a meeting of the fund, it’s supervising Ministry and this Commission to rectify these anomalies before the next promotion exercise in the agency.”

Another query, which reads: “Audit of the Fund’s bank statements for the period under review revealed that contributions received from Federal Government in 2014, amounting to N5,500,000,000.00 were diverted to a Zenith Bank account number 1013938003, instead of the Skye Bank account number 1790122304 into which other contributions were paid, without providing any authority or any form of explanation for such diversion.

“Audit further observed the following: A. The bank account was opened without the approval of the Accountant-General of the Federation, as no such approval was presented for audit. B.

“The new account was opened specifically for this purpose as seen in the bank statements where a first tranche of N2,750,000,000.00 was used in opening the account on the 29th of August 2014.

“Transfers were further made from the account to third parties, individuals and other NSITF accounts without payment vouchers and other supporting documents to authenticate such transfers.

“This puts doubt in the genuineness of all the transactions in the bank account. Consequently, audit cannot accept such transactions without necessary evidence as legitimate charges against public funds.”

The third query reads: “Audit observed from the Fund’s Statements of Account No. 1750011691 with Skye bank plc, for the period 1st January, 2013 to 20th December, 2013, and Statements of Account No.2001754610 with First Bank Plc for the period 7th January, 2013 to 28th February, 2013, that amounts total is N17,158,883,034.69 were transferred to some persons and companies from these accounts.

“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.”

The Committee therefore sustained all 12 queries considered so far on Monday.

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply