NSITF: Board reassures on fair hearing


The board of Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has reassured that it will provide an opportunity for the management of the agency to state its position on the current crisis at the fund.



This assurance came just as the premises of the organisation in Abuja was yesterday protected by officers and men of the Department of State Security (DSS).



Already, there are indications that the board may raise an investigative panel on the accusation levelled against the suspended management.



The Chairman of the board, Austin Enajemo-Isire, who said the board would conduct the meeting via virtual platform, explained that the panel would offer the officers the opportunity to clear themselves of the allegations.



New Telegraph recalled that the management of the fund was suspended by the Federal Government over allegations of financial misappropriation.



However, the management, while insisting it got all mandatory approvals for the execution of staff training and rehabilitation of state offices, pointed out that it was inappropriate for the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, to suspend members of the team when there are records to prove that there was no misappropriation.



While the impasse is yet to be resolved, the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) also faulted insinuations that the board wrote a petition against the management to the president.



The Director General, NECA, Timothy Olawale, said: “NECA is not against the minister as head of the supervising ministry taking whatever actions he deemed right in his capacity but takes exception to misrepresentation and misleading information to the public.



“It would be interesting in public interest to divulge the identities of the board members behind the said petition. Some stakeholders may be fooled by misinformation and misrepresentations, but NECA refuses to fall for illegality as we owe contributors to the Fund who are employers of labour represented by us and the citizenry the duty of due diligence and forthrightness.”



The management said: “There was no contract splitting as claimed by the Minister. The trainings referred to were budgeted for in the year 2017, 2018 and 2019 appropriations for over 5,000 staff nationwide, and Procurement Planning Committee Meetings were held for the procurement of goods, works and services to commence the procurement activities.



“All these details were included in the budget for these years, taken for budget defence in the supervising ministry, officially endorsed by the minister himself, approved and transmitted to the National Assembly for necessary approval during the budget defences for these years.

“All these details were included in the budget for these years, taken for budget defence in the supervising Ministry, officially endorsed by the Minister himself, approved and transmitted to the National Assembly for necessary approval during the budget defences for these years.”



Responding to claims by the minister, the suspended management said such claims were false, saying the project locations can be seen as approved in the budgets to confirm whether or not there were duplications.



The management maintained that they were willing to defend all the allegations levelled against them before an independent panel of enquiry that should consist of relevant government agencies such as the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of Service of the Federation, Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and not handpicked officers by the Minister.Ngige maintained that he operated within the law in suspending NSITF management.


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