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Suspended NSITF MD accuses Ngige of hijacking administration

By Tony Akowe and Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja

The suspended Managing Director of the Nigeria Social Insurance coverage Belief Fund (NSITF), Adebayo Somefun, on Monday accused Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige of hijacking the administration of the company.

Somefun mentioned the allegations in opposition to the suspended administration have been unusual.

The embattled managing director defined that the N3.four billion the minister mentioned was spent on “non-existent coaching” was the cash spent on trainings between 2017 and 2019, including that the trainings have been duly authorised and carried out.

Somefun, who was testifying earlier than a Home of Representatives advert hoc committee in Abuja, additionally mentioned Ngige acted exterior the general public service guidelines and circulars from the Secretary to the Authorities of the Federation (SGF) on how appointed chief executives must be sanctioned and Nigerian legislation of honest listening to.

The embattled MD informed the committee that regardless of the achievements of the fund below his administration, the minister levelled collection of allegations in opposition to him with out following laid-down process.

He mentioned Ngige suspended the administration and arrange a panel to probe the identical allegations he made.

The minister was absent on the listening to, however despatched phrase that the committee ought to give him one other date to seem.

Somefun mentioned the conventional process would have been for the board to analyze any allegation in opposition to the administration and ahead its report back to the Everlasting Secretary within the ministry, who would in flip ahead similar to the minister.

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Based on him, what the minister was anticipated to do was to ahead the report back to the Secretary to the Authorities of the Federation (SGF), who would arrange an unbiased investigation panel earlier than recommending a plan of action to the President.

Somefun accused the Ngige of totalitarianism and queried: “How can an get together be the one to nominate an investigative panel? That is in opposition to the rules of honest listening to.”

The suspended MD mentioned the minister was being economical with the reality when he mentioned the suspended administration spent about N3.four billion on non-existing trainings.

He tendered paperwork earlier than the committee, which he claimed have been proof of approvals for the trainings, with the names of the beneficiaries, the certificates awarded to them and the fee made to them by a platform operated by the fund.

Somefun alleged that Ngige personally wrote letters to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and the Workplace of the Auditor Common to analyze the fund, however didn’t anticipate the report from the 2 companies earlier than suspending the administration.

The embattled MD additionally claimed that whereas he was on his annual go away, the minister ordered the Common Supervisor in control of Finance to pay N81 million for a coaching that was allegedly not completed.

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He mentioned: “Once I returned from go away, I queried the GM, Finance, and insisted that the coaching have to be held. That’s one among my sins that I used to be not forgiven.”

Somefun additionally accused the minister of personally writing to the administration to hold out some promotions, which he claimed weren’t in keeping with the foundations of the organisations.

Based on him, regardless of his insistence that it could trigger disaffection among the many staff, the minister mentioned it have to be carried out.

The suspended MD additionally alleged that the Secretary to the NSITF board was appointed by the minister with out following due course of.

He added that the minister unilaterally suspended the Appearing President of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Affiliation (NECA) from attending the fund’s board conferences.

Each the suspended Government Director of Finance and Funding, Jasper Azuatalam, and Government Director of Operations, Kemi Nelson, mentioned they have been shocked by the explanations given for his or her suspension.

Azuatalam mentioned: “I known as the letter of suspension copy-and-past. The identical letter they used to droop the MD was the identical letter given to me. I’m not a member of the tenders’ board and don’t have anything to so do with procurement. However that was the rationale for my suspension.”

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Mrs. Nelson, who mentioned she had constructed a repute for herself and wouldn’t need anyone to tarnish it, additionally mentioned she was accused of an offence she didn’t know something nothing about and obtained suspended.

“My responsibility is operations. I’ve nothing to do with Finance and Procurement. I don’t spend cash; I solely herald cash into the fund. However they’re accusing me of issues which might be exterior the purview of my workplace.”

The committee additionally took proof from the Everlasting Secretary in control of Insurance coverage within the Workplace of the Head of Service, who, by the way, is Ngige’s spouse.

She informed the committee that the letter she wrote to the Ministry of Labour and Employment was addressed to the Everlasting Secretary and that it was to be communicated solely to treasury funded companies below the Ministry and to not NSITF which isn’t a treasury funded company.

She defined that she was solely performing her responsibility as directed by the Head of Service, saying “I didn’t write to the Minister however to the Everlasting Secretary. I don’t have energy to jot down to Ministers. Solely the Head of Service has that energy.”

The Chairman Mariam Onuoha mentioned the committee was set as much as examine procedural breach of the presidential directives by the Ministers of Labour and Employment, in addition to Energy.

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