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Termites ate documents on alleged N17 billion fraudulent bank transfers by our officials - NSITF

  The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has alleged that termites ate up documents justifying the spending of N17.158 billion by t...

 

The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has alleged that termites ate up documents justifying the spending of N17.158 billion by the agency’s current and past management.

During his appearance before the Senate committee probing the agency over funds mismanagement, NSITF’s managing director, Michael Akabogu, said rain could also have destroyed the documents.


According to him, the container the documents were kept was abandoned in an isolated area on the agency’s premises in Abuja.


“The container where the said documents were kept by past management has not only been beaten by rains over the years but even possibly been eaten up by termites”, he told the panel. 


The Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC), headed by Senator Matthew Urhoghide (Edo South), had summoned and interviewed NSITF’s current and past management on the transfer of the N17.158 billion before placing them under scrutiny. 


Mr Urhoghide-led committee said it discovered that the agency’s management failed to produce relevant documents to justify the alleged spending between January and December 2013. 


However, the NSITF boss told the committee that he informed the agency’s past management officers to help answer the query with the necessary documents.


The committee began its probe following a query by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation in its 2018 audit report.


The office said the N17.158 billion represented the total money the agency transferred from its Skye and First Bank accounts into various untraceable accounts belonging to individuals and companies between January and December 2013.


“Management of NSITF, as shown in statements of account number 1750011691 with Skye Bank Plc, for the period January 1, 2013, to December 20 2013, and statements of account number 2001754610 with First Bank Plc for the period January 7, 2013, to February 28, 2013, transferred amounts totalling N17,158,883,034.69 to some persons and companies from these accounts. However, payment vouchers relating to the transfers, together with their supporting documents, were not provided for audit. Consequently, the purpose(s) for the transfers could not be authenticated,” the query said.


In the audit report, 50 different queries bordering on the alleged misappropriation of funds were raised against the agency.


The managing director of NSITF from 2010 to 2016, Umar Munir Abubakar, was reported to be aware of the query but gave no explanations since the audit exercise was not carried out during his tenure.


His successor, Adebayo Somefun, from May 2017 to July 2020, allegedly insisted that those in the agency’s account section should be able to trace the documents.


Both members of past and present management of the NSITF were asked to reappear before the panel with all necessary evidence concerning the transactions by September 22.


In 2018, a staff of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Makurdi, Benue, blamed an “unidentified spiritual snake” for sneaking into the accounts office of the agency and eating N36 million realised from the sales of scratch cards. 


In the same year, a Nigerian senator, Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa-APC), was removed as the chairman of the Northern Senators Forum after he claimed that monkeys carted away N70 million belonging to the group.


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