NSITF: N48bn proceeds entered pockets; officials, spouses flew first class – Ngige

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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has alleged that the suspended management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), misappropriated N48billion.
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He spoke on Tuesday at an investigative hearing at the House of Representatives.

Ngige stated that the management withdrew the amount through fake contracts, proceeds of which were recycled into private pockets.

The minister said there were irregular payments of salaries and allowances of N10million not in line with the condition of service of the organisation.

The former Anambra governor claimed that the suspended management went on leave abroad in first class with their spouses.

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He alleged that they paid themselves N9.8million each without the approval of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

The minister accused them of engaging the services of legal practitioners at the sum of N180million without the approval of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

Nigige added that they spent N146million on vehicles, and on May 31, 2020, awarded 30 contracts worth N332billion, splitted into smaller components of N49million.

The splitting, he explained, was to enable the transactions to fall within the threshold allowed by law for the management to award.

The minister added that the suspended NSITF management spent N570million on health insurance outside the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Ngige revealed that since 2012, the NSITF had not submitted records of its audited accounts to the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, in line with the extant laws.

He pointed out that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had since dragged the NSITF management to court on corruption charges.

Ngige stressed that their suspension was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, following his recommendation.

When asked to tender documentary evidence of the presidential approval, the minister only showed a letter to the lawmakers, but refused to tender it as evidence.

The minister said he would consult with the President before tendering the letter approving the suspension.

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