“NSITF Fraud, Ngige Indicted”You approved the N3.4bn for staff training’ — NSITF management tackles Ngige

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The management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) says Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, approved the controversial N3.4 billion for the training of staff.

Last week, Ngige suspended the management over “misappropriation and other gross misconduct”. The minister said while the sum of N2.3 billion was already paid for “non-existent staff training”, N1.1 billion is being processed for the same purpose.

The management rejected the suspension by Ngige. TheCable learnt Adebayo Somefun, NSITF managing director, was at work, on Friday.

In a statement on Sunday, the management said the training referred to was in the budgets of the agency for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

It said the minister endorsed the funds for training of staff before the national assembly gave its approval.

“There was no contract splitting as claimed by the minister,” the statement read.

“The training referred to were budgeted for in the year 2017, 2018 and 2019 appropriations for over 5,000 staff nationwide, and procurement planning committee meetings were held for the procurement of goods, works and services to commence the procurement activities.

“All these details were included in the budget for these years, taken for budget defence in the supervising ministry, officially endorsed by the minister himself, approved and transmitted to the National Assembly for necessary approval during the budget defences for these years.

“We hereby seek that due process be followed and the suspended staff should be allowed to return to their offices to prepare their defence to all allegations against them.”

The management said “some of the documents needed to defend the allegations are being carted away from the office”.

It asked Ngige to comply with a May circular issued by Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).

Mustapha had said ministers do not have the power to remove or suspend heads of agencies.