From Tony Akowe, Abuja
Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige on Tuesday accused the suspended administration of the Nigeria Social Insurance coverage Belief Fund (NSITF) of awarding about 332 contracts value about N4.448 billion in someday.
He mentioned this occurred two days after he left workplace as minister, following the dissolution of the Cupboard after the 2019 normal election.
The minister, who made a two-hour presentation earlier than the Home of Representatives advert hoc committee investigating arbitrary breach of presidential breeches, mentioned the suspended administration dedicated about 74 infractions, which knowledgeable its suspension.
He informed the committee that the round from the Workplace of the Secretary to the Authorities of the Federation (SGF), which he was accused of breaching, was about critical misconduct and that a number of the suspended officers will face disciplinary motion.
Ngige assured that the administration committee can be given truthful listening to. “Suspension is just not dismissal,” he mentioned.
The minister listed a number of the infractions the suspended administration dedicated, together with extra-budgetary spending, making fee for unapproved expenditure, overspending on administrative points, irregular direct fee from the Staff Compensation Act, irregularities in staff’ group assurance coverage and making fee for assurance coverage and not using a coverage cowl.
Ngige additionally mentioned there was non-payment of taxes to states, resulting in the closure of the fund workplaces in Port Harcourt (Rivers) and Owerri (Imo), having completely different figures on the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) voucher and PAYE mandate, partaking solicitors with out the approval of the Lawyer Normal of the Federation (AuGF) and making fee of N33 million to the solicitors, additionally with out the approval of the AGF.
Additionally, the minister mentioned the administration paid about N180 million to solicitors they employed with out approval of the AuGF to deal with a vase of a former worker who was speculated to be paid about N60 million.
In accordance with him, some funds had been made by the fund with out the signature of the Managing Director.
Ngige mentioned the administration circumvented the Ministerial Tenders Board within the award of contracts.
The minister additionally alleged that the suspended administration accredited for themselves and their households about N9.eight million as go away grant and abroad vacation for 30 days, flying first-class, even when such journeys weren’t identified to him and weren’t accredited.
He additionally accused them of irregular fee of salaries to themselves exterior their situation of service.
“They jettisoned the NSITF situation of service. They claimed to have seen a doc, which is the situation of service of NSITF, and glued salaries and allowances for themselves.
“They earned humongous salaries and allowances and took housing loans for themselves with out coming to the minister,” Ngige mentioned.
The minister accused the suspended administration of failing to submit audited reviews to the Workplace of the AuGF, breach of Private Earnings Tax Act/under-deduction of PAYE Tax – N1,446,887,167.70; non-deduction/non-remittance of VAT and Withholding Tax (WHT) – N1,435,711; irregular fee of unapproved salaries and allowances to MD and Government Administrators, exterior their circumstances of service, of their letters of appointment as political workplace holders.
He additionally accused them of transferring funds from Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) with out proof of utilisation; engagement of exterior solicitors with out acquiring clearance from AuGF; fee of authorized charges with out clearance from AGF; irregular fee of first 28 days’ allowance to MD/CE and three Government Administrators – political workplace holders not recognised in extant round nor within the NSITF situation of service.
Ngige accused the administration of sponsoring government administrators and their spouses to abroad international locations for annual go away – about N9.eight million every; international worldwide Travels with out approvals, Overpayment to contractors attributable to addition of WHT, irregular award of contract for the provision of 22 of motor autos to NSITF – N146,027,227; procurement – conversion of contract from the provision of toners to the provision of Toyota Prado Jeep with out approval – N48,300,000.
The minister mentioned the company of engaged within the procurement of motorized vehicle not taken on ledger cost, value N290,414,289; contract-splitting, contract fee with out proof of efficiency of N151,389,021.50; consultancy companies for processing and regularisation of the title deeds and survey plans at Period Village, Oto-Awori, Ijinikin-Badagry Specific Approach – N120,000,000; contract execution with out signed contract by each events.
He mentioned: “The fascinating factor is that the Auditor Normal’s particular periodic verify report has been handled with levity, particularly in areas the place the MD and the three government administrators had queries for bypassing problems with funds not authorised to themselves by extant circulars and their circumstances of companies.
“There was proof that these infractions had been dropped at the events involved through queries and their responses to the allegations made in opposition to them and given proper of reply.”
“In 2018, I arrange an Implementation Committee from the ministry to implement each the Auditor Normal’s particular periodic verify and the report of the executive panel of enquiry, headed by the then Everlasting Secretary, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote. By the point she was redeployed from the Ministry of Labour and Employment in November 2018 to the Ministry of Atmosphere, my directions on the implementation for the 2 reviews on NSITF, to the most effective of my data, didn’t obtain consideration from the NSITF administration.”
“All makes an attempt and directives to NSITF, even on the ministry’s prime administration with parastatals to get the NSITF’s response, had been futile, until we went for the overall election and I exited as minister on Might 29, 2019. After all, they celebrated the exit. However all these had been captured in my handover notes to the possible ‘new Minister of Labour and Employment’.
“To make issues worse, once I got here again in August 2019, reappointed as Minister of Labour and Employment, proper from the 2020 Funds defence and their 2019 finances efficiency, I realised that as an alternative of constructing amends from the sooner Auditor Normal’s report, issues have worsened. I, due to this fact, sought the assistance of the AuGF and the DG of Public Procurement as there was a bazaar of NSITF contract paperwork being hawked at Wuse and Maitama, Abuja, for ‘potential contractors’ on fee of 25 per cent of contract paper worth.
“Though the MD and ED Finance and Funding dodged and didn’t current a well-articulated Funds 2020, the 2019 efficiency, the latter raised purple flags for all – beginning with the 2 committees of the Nationwide Meeting on Labour, Employment and Productiveness and the auditors within the ministry.
“In the meantime, the Particular Periodic Examine of 2018/2019 undertaken by the auditors from AuFG later raised even worse infraction than the sooner ones in 2012 – 2017.
“Instantly these purple flags had been raised instructed them to halt all procurements for 2019 and funds of 2018/2019 that had not been carried out, pending the report of those checks. I introduced this example instantly to the eye of Mr. President as a result of the MD and EDs declare they’re “nicely linked politicians” and as such nothing will contact them therefore, they ignored my directives through the Covid-19 they usually went on to start out funds for all types of phoney contracts – some executed and a few unexecuted.”
“The 2018/2019 Particular Periodic Examine/requested from the AuGF had thrown up extra of those queries which they may not reply. A fast verify revealed further Budgetary expenditure as in opposition to the accredited estimate of N1,019,360,520.90; fee of unapproved allowances – N118,779,632.40; fee for vouchers not offered for audit inspection (capital vouchers N300,898,994.30), fee vouchers not posted to the cashbook – N884,701,789.72
Overspending on Administrative bills opposite to the provisions of the ECS Act solely 5 to 25 per cent contributions allowed by Act, Irregular Direct Funds from ECS Accounts – N1,476,690,076.78 responded however not passable to auditors,” amongst others.
He mentioned ECS contributions inflows – N2,451,474,084.91 and outflows of N178,468,751.11 discovered within the financial institution statements weren’t accounted for within the money ebook, whereas ECS contributions inflows captured on the cashbook however not present in financial institution assertion amounted to N448,053,243.54.
Giving element of contract splitting, he mentioned the administration break up contract value N4,889,320,06 to keep away from Ministerial Tenders Board and FEC Scrutiny, violated E-Cost, funds with out related assist paperwork to the tune of N966,622,231.3.
Ngige mentioned the suspension of the administration had a presidential approval through a letter, dated Might 19, 2020.
He mentioned: “Even after the presidential assent for disciplinary motion in opposition to the MD and these officers for these monetary breaches, the Chief of Workers to the President (CoSP) nonetheless communicated the SGF due to the brand new round, and the SGF nonetheless subjected the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment to submit the prima facie infractions and critical misconduct in view of round above.
“The minister complied and submitted the copy of the report and alleged gross misconduct, once more, by a letter, dated June 23, 2020.
“By the letter, dated June 30, 2020, the SGF conveyed Mr. President’s approval of all of the suggestions submitted by my workplace in respect of points bordering on the Monetary and Procurement infractions and acts of great of misconduct and referred to the steering on implementation to a letter from the CoSP and additional requested the minister to avail his workplace with information of the implementation of Mr. President’s approval, particularly within the areas of personnel costs.”