The Federal Government has set up a Presidential Joint Board Audit Investigation Panel to probe alleged N3.4 billion financial infractions levelled against the suspended Managing Director of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Adebayo Somefun and three other directors.
The suspended directors are: Jasper Ikedi-Azuatalam, Executive Director (ED), Finance and Investment; Mrs Olukemi Nelson, ED, Operations and Alhaji Tijani Darazo Sulaiman, ED, Administration.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, set up the panel on Thursday.
The panel is chaired by Ibrahim Khaleel of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Chairman of the Audit Committee of the NSITF board.
The minister was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo.
Ngige stated that the eight-member committee had three weeks to submit its report.
According to Ngige, the NSITF is a government-owned entity established to address the socio-economic needs of workers by providing compensation to insured employees who suffered from occupational diseases, sustained injuries or disability from accident or even death during or in the course of employment.
He said in order to discharge its mandate, the NSITF Act provided that employers of labour should make financial contributions to the Fund, adding that employers in both the private and public sectors of the formal economy and the NSITF were the statutory custodian of the funds.
The minister pointed out that it had become very worrisome when there were 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,” he said.
In his remark, Khaleel assured that the committee would carry out its duty justly and with the fear of God and that nobody would be cheated.