Why Board of NSITF Was Not Inaugurated – Labour Minister Recounts
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige today in line with presidential directive, inaugurated the boards of parastatals under the Ministry of Labour except the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
It will be recalled that the President has in October 2017, nominated the board of the NSITF with the former President of NUNPENG Chief Frank Kokori as the chairman.
However, giving reasons the board was not inaugurated alongside others viz, National Productivity Centre (NPC), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Micheal Imoudu National institute for Labour Studies (MINILS) today, Ngige said he has the full consent of the President to stay action on inaugurating the board of the NSITF pending the outcome of Administrative Enquiry recently set up by the Ministry to investigate the mindless looting of the agency.
Charging members of other boards so inaugurated against the repeat of the rot in the NSITF, Ngige said “the operations of the various parastatals must strictly conform with Financial Regulations especially Section 32 and the provisions of the Procurement Act. The audited accounts of the Parastatals must always be prepared and submitted to the relevant authorities as and when due.”
“The NSITF for example is reeling from massive looting with no audited account for five years. A whooping sum of Five Billion Naira was unearthed by Audit Panel of Enquiring as having been taken out of the NSITF coffers with First Bank in one single day without vouchers. Worse still, the Organization maintained no cash book as required by Financial Regulations. This resulted in massive looting of funds by Board Members acting in concert with the management Staff.”
“When we say N5 billion taken in one day, that’s not the only amount missing. Over N30billion Naira cannot be accounted for and the members of the past board participated actively in the looting. We want to know how board members who are not part of the management found their way so deep to have participated in plundering of the agency,” Ngige said.
“The non-executive board members representing various interests like NLC, Nigeria Employers Consultative Assembly (its former President) – including the chairman of the board, and some management staff have been charged to court by the EFCC. So, we don’t want the new board to go into a stench; putting a new wine in an old wine skin. It will be polluted.”
“That’s why the President agreed for us to do an Administrative Enquiry there to explain the total failure of the internal audit mechanism for checking that no money leaves any government establishment without voucher and in this instance, over N30 billion missing and N5 billion withdrawn in one day without any voucher, no trace. It is unacceptable.”
He asserted that knowing that the former board was neck deep in this massive corruption, it was imperative to forestall recurrence.
The Minister therefore said that once the Panel of Enquiry concluded its findings and government issued a gazette on its conclusions, a new board would be inaugurated.
“We will make sure that people who are going there will be people of character and quality so that such a thing will never happen again because the NSITF is the flagship board of this ministry and the constituent tripartite organizations, he concluded.”