NSITF Fraud: Buhari’s Minister, Ngige Offered $4m Bribe To Quash Probe - News Proof

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Monday, 12 March 2018

NSITF Fraud: Buhari’s Minister, Ngige Offered $4m Bribe To Quash Probe

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In Determined to stop the ongoing probe of a fraud in the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund(NSITF), some suspects have offered the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, a $4m bribe.

The bribe was to be paid in two tranches, but the minister, who rejected the offer, has vowed to ensure the ongoing cleansing of the NSITF.

He said in one day alone about N5billion was withdrawn from the NSITF’s account under questionable circumstances.

Some labour leaders have been implicated in the NSITF fraud.

Some of the labour leaders were said to be behind the nomination of a few members of the new board.

The NSITF accounts in First Bank of Nigeria and other banks had recorded a total turnover of over N62, 358,401,927 between 2012 and 2015 from the Employee Compensation Scheme contributions.

Of the N62.3b, the Federal Government contributed N13, 600,000,000; N48, 758,401,927.80 was contributed by the private sector.


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned a former NSITF Managing Director Umar Munir Abubakar, and four others for alleged diversion of N18billion of the money.

The others are Deputy General Manager (Finance) Henry Ekhasomi Sambo; General Manager (Legal) Adebayo Adebowale Aderibigbe; Chief Richard U. Uche and Aderemi Adegboyega.

The EFCC has also grilled and detained a former Chairman of the Fund, Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, for alleged diversion of $48,485,127 from the agency’s accounts.

Apart from those on trial, some officials of the NSITF had been sent on compulsory leave to enable a nine-man Administrative Panel of Inquiry examine the challenges in NSITF.

Those suspended are General Manager (Social Security) Ishmael Agaka; Deputy General Manager  (Internal Audit) Zwalda Ponkap; General Manager (Information) Catherine Ugbe; and General Manager (Compensation) Dr. Kelly Nwagha.

Amid the trial and inquiry, an attempt was made to bribe the minister.

A source said: “In the attempt to stop the administrative probe, some of those implicated sent an emissary to the minister to forget the past and gloss over the fraud which borders on diversion of PAYEE, pension funds and other remittances.

“They offered a $4million bribe cash to be paid in two tranches to halt the inquiry and spare the suspects. They were really desperate to cover up.

“The minister rejected the bait and told the front of the suspects that he would never be part of any under-the-table deal to cover up the looting of workers’ entitlements.

“The desperation made the minister to be suspicious that there was more to the fraud in the system than meet the eye. We believe the administrative inquiry will assist the government to uncover the rot in NSITF.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “Actually, the ongoing probe of NSITF delayed the inauguration of the new board of the agency headed by Comrade Frank Kokori.

“In fact, going by the latest revelations, some labour leaders have been fingered in the scam. These leaders were discovered to have influenced the nomination of one or two members of the board in order to cover up their tracks.

“Some members of the new board need security checks in the light of the revelations from the investigation by the EFCC.

“There is no way the new board can be inaugurated in the present circumstances in NSITF. We need to clean up the system for the new board to have a better take-off.”

“The suspects are trying to fight back by rushing to the House of Representatives to raise dust, but the minister has sent a detailed report to the House on the depth of the large scale fraud in NSITF.”

Ngige, who confirmed the bribe offer, said: “We will do our best to get to the roots of the scandal in NSITF; we will not allow any cover-up.

“The administration of President Muhammadu Buuhari is committed to the anti-corruption campaign. We will leave no stone unturned to rid the system of bad eggs. We will allow the nine-man panel to do a thorough investigation.

“Do you know that in one day alone, about N5billion was withdrawn from the account of NSITF for questionable purpose? The fraud we are looking into was perpetrated between 2011 and 2015.”

During the inauguration of the panel, headed by Director of Finance and Accounts of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ishaya A. Awotu, the minister said it would look into the financial state of the NSITF with a view to purging it of “negative trails inflicted on it by its last board and management”.

Other members include: Mrs. P.O Odusanya from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. S.U. Ukut from the National Salary Income and Wages Commission, Millicent Ikeotuonye from the Budget Office of the Federation and Eze Osuagwu, representing the Organised Private Sector.

There were also representative of the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Ibrahim Jilbia, who is director of Skills Acquisition and Certification as well as Mrs. D.E  Ajiboye, director, Social Security and Cooperative Development – both from the Ministry of labour and Employment.”

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