The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, insisted on Saturday the suspension of the Managing Director of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) Adebayo Somefun, and other top management staff of the organisation followed due process.
The minister was reacting to the claim by the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) that the NSITF management staff’s suspension violated the disciplinary procedure approved by the president.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday ordered the indefinite suspension of Shomefun, three Executive Directors and eight other management staff of NSITF over alleged financial infractions.
The Federal Government also set up an investigative panel to look into the financial dealings by the affected officers.
In a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Press and Publicity in the Ministry of Labour, Charles Akpan, the minister dismissed NECA’s claim on the matter.
He said the removal of the NSITF management staff followed due process, adding that it was in line with the Constitution, Public Service Rules and NSITF Act.
Ngige said: “Some of the infractions uncovered include N3.4 billion squandered on non- existent staff training split into about 196 different consultancy contracts in order to evade the Ministerial Tenders Board and Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval.
“Non-existent unexecuted N2.3 billion was documented and paid while N1.1 billion is awaiting payment without any job done, all totalling N3.4 billion.
“Same goes for projects of construction of 14 Zonal/Regional offices in 14 states running into billions of naira- a policy issue being done without board or ministerial knowledge not to talk of approval.
“This was done in 2019 by the MD and his three-man Executive. Some of the projects are duplications and hence waste of funds, yet you are in the Board supposedly supervising!”