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BPP clears NSITF management of financial wrongdoings

BPP clears NSITF management of financial wrongdoings

*Reps get report of committee Thursday
*Ngige blames suspension on financial infractions

The Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) has cleared the management of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) of perpetrating any financial wrongdoing in the ways the finances of the institution has been handled.

This comes as the House of Representatives would on Thursday morning receive the report of the committee probing the alleged financial infractions against the management of the NSITF.

Speaking at the House of Representatives investigative hearing on the arbitrary breach of presidential directives on the suspension of top management and management and executive committee members of NSITF, the representative of the Director General of the BPP, Engr Babatunde Kuye, disclosed that contrary to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige’s claim of financial infractions, the BPP, which executes annual audit of government agencies found no infractions against the management of the Fund in its procurement processes.

On his part, Dr Ngige, who clarified that the alleged N48billion financial misappropriation was not perpetrated by the current board and management but the one before it.

There was a mild drama when Honourable Sada Soli, representing Jibia/ Kaita Federal Constituency, observed that the document Ngige brought to the session not only had some discrepancies, but an imposed portion.

He subsequently averred that the letter that authorized the suspension of the top management of NSITF did not look genuine and demanded for the original copy. Other committee members soon joined the argument, but the Minister objected top making the original available and claimed that the document was a restricted one.

The Committee, Chaired by Hon. Miriam Onuoha, thereafter ruled that the Minister had refused to tender the most critical evidence with regards to the investigative hearing.

The Minister, who pledged to be fair to all the suspended staffers denied favouritism tag, saying, due process was followed in the exercise.

Meanwhile the suspended Managing Director, Adebayo Somefun, observed that the composition of the ministerial joint board panel is a jaundiced one.

He said: “How can you suspend, malign a person’s character without investigation and then proceed to personally hand pick and constitute a committee to investigate the allegations you leveled against them? This is a total breach of s. 36(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. How can an interested party be the one to solely constitute and choose the members of a supposed independent joint Board and audit investigative panel? No One should be a Judge in his own case. This is the rule against bias.”

He added that the total non-inclusion of the representative of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), who chairs the finance committee of the NSITF board on the committee and allegedly making the Chairman of the committee, Ibrahim Khaleel, to publicly retract his alleged “misrepresented statement” before he was found to be “fit and proper” for the assignment smacks of executing already-made agenda.

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