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Federal Government sets up investigative panel to probe alleged fraud in NSITF

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The Federal Government has inaugurated an eight man Presidential Investigative panel to probe the financial infractions in the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, recently suspended the management of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) over what he termed as some ‘prima facie’ evidence of fraud at the institution.

The panel would be headed by Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel who is the chairman of the Audit Committee of the NSITF Board.

Other members of the panel include Dr. Ifeoma Ayanwutaku Director Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment , Umma Aminu Dutse Director Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. B. O. C. Omogo Director Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Muhammed Katun Ahmed Director Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Nicholas Tor Mtemave Director Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.

Also part of the committee are Dr. Onwusoro Maduka Director Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and Mrs. E. E. Ogriki Director National Productivity Center.

The investigative panel was given three weeks to report back to the government.

The Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige inaugurated the panel at the NSITF head office in Abuja on Thursday.

The Minister was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, William Alo.

He said that investigative panel would look into all the financial infractions of the Procurement and Financial Regulations raised by the Accountant General of the Federation Periodic Check Report 2015 – 2019.

The panel is also expected to look into issues raised in the 2018, 2019 Budget Performance Utilisation in the Procurement, particularly Training and others that were raised by the Joint Committees of the National Assembly on Labour and Employment during the 2020 budget defence in December 2020.

Ngige was quoted saying that the panel should ”investigate any other matter that will make for the strengthening of the operations of the Fund and also make appropriate recommendations including but not limited to restructuring of the affected departments and or disciplinary actions for all found culpable.”

He said: ”Look into all cases of Gross Misconduct involving these officers and others that are contrary to the Public Service Rules and 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, and particularly disobedience to Ministerial Directives and Federal Executive Council Decisions on 2020 Budget Review,” he stated.

The Minister charged the panel to discharge their duties, national assignment with due diligence and thoroughness.

On his part, the chairman of the investigative panel Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel said the selected members assured President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians that they will discharge their task with the expectations of the authority.

He said they will discharge their duties justly and in a manner that nobody will be cheated.

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