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Senate indicts NSITF management over N84b misappropriated in four years

The Senate, yesterday, indicated that the management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) misappropriated about N84 billion within four years.

The chairman, Senate Public Accounts Committee, Mathew Urhoghide, who made the disclosure, described the agency as a cesspool of corruption.

“They depleted our resources, just a few human persons who are mindless,” he said, noting that the revelation came from 12 out 50 queries investigated so far by the committee.

He said it was unfortunate that the management and board of NSITF colluded between 2012-2017 to carry out the alleged graft. “They are all guilty. They are implicated. They stole the place dry. The agency is most defiant and most notorious,” he said.

One of the queries read: “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.

“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.”

Another query reads: “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 5,500,000,000.00 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: The bank account was opened without the approval of the Accountant-General of the Federation, as no such approval was presented for audit. 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 August 29, 2014.”

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