Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige has blamed the non-inauguration of the board of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) on an ongoing investigation into fraud involving staff of the body. The Minister also confirmed an offer of a $4 million bribe, which he rejected. A total of ₦62.3 billion has reportedly been diverted from the fund.
He made the disclosure while inaugurating a 9 member panel to investigate the fund’s activities. The panel is headed by Director of Finance and Accounts of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ishaya A. Awotu. Other members include Mrs P.O Odusanya from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr S.U. Ukut from the National Salary Income and Wages Commission, Millicent Ikeotuonye from the Budget Office of the Federation and Eze Osuagwu, representing the Organised Private Sector.
The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has a representative on the board as well as the Ministry of Labour and Employment represented by Ibrahim Jibia and D.E. Ajiboye.
Other actions that have been taken so far
While some members of staff have been sent on compulsory leave, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned a former Managing Director Umar Munir Abubakar, and four other staff for alleged diversion of ₦18 billion.
Immediate past chairman of the fund, Ngozi Olojeme was also quizzed for reportedly diverting $48 million from its accounts.
The NSITF was established in 1993 by the Federal Government based on recommendations made by the Technical Committee on Privatization and Commercialization ( now known as the Bureau for Public Enterprises ). The NSITF replaces the National Provident Fund which was set up as a poverty alleviation scheme to protect private sector employees. The NPF was scrapped for failing to meet its objectives.
The House of Representatives had recently summoned the Ministers of Budget and Planning Udoma Udo Udoma, Finance Kemi Adeosun and Labour Chris Ngige over the Federal Government’s failure to remit NSITF contributions from 2007 till date.