By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, on Monday assured Nigerians that the 2018 Audit Report by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation which raised 50 queries on misappropriation of N17.158 billion has nothing to do with the current administration.
The NSITF in a statement in Abuja, explained that though the current probe by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts was in exercise of its statutory oversight functions, “it is overly important to inform the general public that what is under investigation, are not new infractions but a cumulative financial violations under the management that ran the agency between 2012 and 2017.”
The statement issued by Ijeoma Okoronkwo, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, further clarified that, “These infractions are not new. They have in fact been subject of probe since the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation first raised the red flag in 2015. We make it clear therefore that the negative trails of these breaches, have nothing to do with the present management beyond assisting the Senate Committee, carry out its oversight functions, knowing full well, that government is a continuum.
“On record, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has probed and taken the former Chairman of the Board and five other senior officials, including the Managing Director and three Directors to court over some of the issues. Huge sums of money as well as property were also recovered, while some of the indicted staff members were equally removed from office.
“Indeed, when the Senate Committee initiated this current probe, the Managing Director, Dr. Michael Akabogu set up an internal committee to retrieve from First Bank and Skye Bank respectively, detailed transactions involving the fund under the period in probe. The documents were subsequently submitted to the Senate Committee.
“However, when the Senate Committee further called for the vouchers backing up the transactions, Dr. Akabogu requested that the former Managing Directors under whose tenures, the transactions were made, be invited to provide further answers especially with regards to the vouchers.
“The current management is not in possession of the vouchers and hence, informed the Senate Committee that the contents of the container in the premises of the fund, where the former Managing Directors allegedly left the vouchers have succumbed to the elements. And that this can be substantiated from memos, hitherto written by the fund’s General Services Department on the state of the facility in question.
“This statement has become necessary to forestall further wrong finger-pointing and mischief in a section of the media directed at the current Management of the NSITF, which has charted a new course with strategic reforms , strongly anchored on transparency, and already, producing positive results.”