NSITF Headquarters in Abuja, FCT

Corruption, forgery allegations rock NSITF again, as staff urge EFCC, ICPC for probe

*Allegations of corruption and forgery cum financial irresponsibility with taxpayers’ money once more, rock the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, as some concerned personnel of the organisation call on anti-corruption bodies to intervene to halt the growing brigandage of top Management Staff of the regulatory agency

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Corruption and forgery allegations are currently rocking the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), following the financial improprieties raised by some staff of the organisation.

It was learnt the staff disclosed that hundreds of millions of public fund is being fleeced into private pockets in the government’s regulatory agency.

Dr. Michael Akabogu, Managing Director of NSITF

ConsumerConnect had reported how then NSITF top Management Staff, in 2021, got enmeshed in N3.4billion contract scam and reckless embezzlement of the Nigerian Employee Compensation Funds entrusted to the agency.

The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment later indicted the Mr. Bayo Somefun, ex-Managing Director and Chief Executive (CEO) of NSITF, Management team for defrauding the agency of the sum in 196 different sham consultancy contracts.

Therefore, for betraying their employers and other stakeholders’ trust in the management of funds earmarked for welfare of the Nigerian workers, President Muhammadu Buhari by June 2021 had approved the dismissal of the Somefun-led Management team.

Subsequently, the investigative panel recommended that Somefun and three Executive Directors of NSITF to refund N181.056million illegal overpayments in salaries, allowances for overseas travels, leave allowances, others to the agency’s treasury.

Fresh accusations of theft of taxpayers’ money 

In regard to the fresh allegations of financial irregularities in the agency, the staff have urged the anti-graft agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) to beam its searchlight on the agency and halt the brigandage, Daily Independent report said.

Incidentally, the regulatory agency, in recent weeks, had been in the news with some claiming that a top management staff had to resign.

The staff, who spoke to certain reporters on the condition of anonymity also condemned the absence of a properly constituted Board of NSITF, after the expiration of the last one few years back.

It was also gathered that correspondence meant for Dr. Michael Akabogu, current Managing Director of NSITF, were allegedly intercepted by some Management Staff and  executed same for payments to be made to contractors.

Allegations of the high level of impunity in the agencies surfaced as further findings confirm that the queries issued to the erring Management Staff by constituted authorities over the issues were rebuffed by the individuals, report noted.

It’s a case of case of corruption fighting back, say Staff

Reacting to the reported resignation of Dr. Akabogu, the concerned staff claimed that was false, and dismissed it as a case of corruption fighting back the agency.

Some concerned personnel reportedly said: “What is happening today is that these looters who present themselves as contractors and their collaborators inside the NSITF are bitter that Akabogu stood in their way.

“So, they are desperate to ease him out by all means, including the publication of falsehood.

“We can authoritatively tell you that the MD is a meticulous person, who is detailed on his job.”

It is also recalled that a recent ICPC report had listed the NSITF as one of the corrupt government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Nigeria.

Amid the fresh allegations against the top Management Staff of the organisation, Mrs. Ijeoma Oji-Okoronkwo, General Manager/Head of Corporate Affairs at NSITF, was quoted to have said that she could not comment on the issue of corruption in the agency.

Oji-Okoronkwo said she was on leave, and not in any picture of corruption issues at the agency, according to report.

She stated: “I am not aware of any corruption. I am on leave, and l can only comment on what l know.

“I don’t know anything about corruption and ICPC report.”

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