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Ngige inaugurates panel to probe suspended NSITF officers

Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige on Thursday inaugurated a Presidential Joint Board and Audit Investigation Panel to probe alleged N3.4 billion financial infractions leveled against suspended Managing Director of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Adebayo Somefun and three other directors.

The committee is chaired by Ibrahim Khaleel of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Chairman of the Audit Committee of the NSITF board.

The minister, who was represented by Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo, said the 8-member committee has three weeks to submit its report.

Somefun, three directors and ten management staff were suspended by the minister over allegations of financial infraction and procurement breaches.

Ngige said: “The NSITF is a government – owned human centered entity which was established to address the socio- economic needs in the world of work by providing compensation to insured employees who suffer from occupational diseases, sustain injuries or disability from accident or even death during or in the course of employment.

“In order to discharge this very noble mandate, the NSITF enabling Act provides that employers of labour should make financial contributions to the Fund of the NSITF. This includes employers in both the private and public sectors of the formal economy and the NSITF is the statutory custodian of these funds.

“It becomes very worrisome when there are issues surrounding and emanating from the management of these funds entrusted to NSITF especially when seemingly done in transgression of extant rules, regulations and laws guiding due processes for the management of funds and general conduct/ethics in the public service.

“This becomes even more worrisome when preliminary investigations yield alarming results.”

Khaleel promised that the committee will do its duty “justly and with the fear of God that nobody will be cheated.”

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