The suspended management of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund has insisted that all trainings, contracts and rehabilitation carried out by the organisation received the approval of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and the National Assembly.
The minister had last Thursday announced the suspension of NSITF Managing Director, Adebayo Somefun, three Executive Directors and several top officials over allegations of corruption.
But the suspended management on Sunday denied the allegation of contracts splitting levelled against it.
The management stated, “There was no contract splitting as claimed by the minister. The trainings 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.”
On the allegation that the project of construction of 14 zonal/regional offices in 14 states running into billions of naira was a policy that was done without board or ministerial knowledge, the management explained that the minister personally increased the construction by adding Akwa and Asaba sites and insisted that the projects were in the 2019 budget, and brought for the budget defence in the supervising ministry chaired by the minister himself.
The management added, “It is therefore not true that such policy issues were being done without board or ministerial knowledge, not to talk of approval.”
They also debunked claim by the minister that construction of any new regional offices was executed.
It explained that what was done was a renovation of abandoned NSITF offices to enable the fund move out from rented offices where such abandoned properties were located.
The suspended management alleged that suspending the top officials of the Fund even before a panel of inquiry was inaugurated could deny the officials the right frame of mind and official space to adequately respond to the allegations.