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Okoli, embattled NSITF boss knows fate soon

On September 28, 2009,  the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund sent the managing director, Chief Enuora Okoli on compulsory leave. Since then, he has been out of office but the Nigeria police has been busy investigating the allegations against him.  Surprisingly, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) was not brought in.

Pension and You met then minister of Labour, Prince Adetokubo Kayode who spoke briefly on the fate of the embattled chief executive.
Chief Okoli’s troubles started with the way he emerged as the chief executive of NSITF.   Organised labour raised a lot of dust over the manner in which President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed a former board chairman, managing director chief executive.

Even the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association opined that the law setting up the NSITF stated that the chief executive be appointed in consultation with stakeholders.  The issues meant nothing to the former President who violated the rules and appointed Chief Okoli managing director.

Then in August 2009, the National Pension Commission ( PENCOM) sent a query to Chief Okoli in his capacity as managing director of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund.

PENCOM in a letter dated, August 27, titled, “ Re- Remittance of fund realised from sale real estate properties of NSITF portfolio in Abuja”.  Signed by M.B Umar, Head Resolution and Enforcement , PENCOM stated,

“ The Commission has observed that you collected the sum of N373.55 million from the sum of N1. 636 billion collected as proceeds of sale of Gimbiya Street Estate and deposits from buyers of other NSITF Fund’s properties. An analysis of the breakdown of the total deductions revealed some inconsistencies that resulted in excess charges to the Fund as follows:
* The sum of N153.86 million was deducted by NSITF as 5% Agency Fees was based on the total value of the properties sold which was n3.077 billion instead of the actual amount of N1.636 billion collected by NSITF.
* We also observed from appendix1 that NSITF deducted the sum of N18.36 million as Agency Fees for sale of Gimbiya Street Estate even though it was already included in the N153.86 million  5% Agency Fees deducted by NSITF on the total value of properties; and

* The breakdown provided in appendix 1 included various amounts totaling N95.65 million as benefit payments to pensioners in the month of November, 2006 .  However, Trustfund indicated that it had paid N30.25 million as benefits to 6, 114 pensioners in the same month”.

PENCOM added, “ In addition, the sum of N1. 636 billion remitted to Trustfund did not include interest earned for the period the funds remained in possession of NSITF.   You would recall that the initial deposits made by sitting tenants of N1.23 billion had been in the possession of NSITF since November , 2006.  Similarly, the proceeds of sale of Gimbiya Street Estate in the sum of N408 million had been with NSITF since April 2007.  The amounts were eventually remitted to the Custodians of Trustfund on October 28, 2008 after series of requests from the Commission.

Accordingly, you are required to :* refund the sum of N76.93 million to NSITF Fund representing excess deduction made by NSITF as Agency fees from amount yet to be collected from the buyers of the properties;
* refund the sum of N18.36 million to NSITF Fund being excess Agency fees charged for sale of Gimbiya Street Estate.
* provide details of the sum of N95.65 million claimed as benefit payments to pensioners .  The details should include , the particulars of the pensioners, location, and period covered, amongst others; and
*compute and remit to the Custodians of Trustfund interest earned on the N1.23 billion for the 23 months and N480 million for the 18 months the funds remained in the possession of NSITF. The Commission awaits your response on the above issues, urgently, please”. This and other related issued made the board send Chief Okoli on compulsory leave.  About two weeks ago, it filtered in that the embattled chief executive may resume soon.  Hence the employees embarked on a protest .   Then labour and productivity, minister, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode was asked to comment on the issue of the resumption of Chief Okoli.

Recently there were protests by employees of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund against  the return of the embattled managing director who was placed on compulsory leave by the board, what is the position of the ministry on this ?
Honestly, I am not aware of such protests.
Is he returning soon?
I cannot say that now.   All I know is that we have presented a memo to government for a decision to be taken.  Investigations have been carried out   by the Police and the board of NSITF that sent him on compulsory leave in the first place and we felt it was not appropriate for him to resume while … because we have gotten a report on him from the police, we have gotten a report from the board.


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