President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked the Managing Director and Chief Executive, Bayo Somefun of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and other top management staff over alleged N3.4bn fraud.
This was made known in a statement on Monday by the Ministry of Labour and Employment spokesman, Mr Charles Akpan.
The president also fired the Executive Directors in charge of Finance, Jasper Azuatalam; Investment, Operations, and Administration, Tijani Sulaiman and Human Resources, Mrs Olukemi Nelson, were also relieved of their positions.
Also dismissed were the nine top management officers hitherto on suspension alongside the MD and EDs.
Buhari decided to sack the officials following the recommendations in the Report of the Presidential Joint Board and Audit Investigation Panel set up by the President in July 2020 to investigate the infractions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, and the Financial Regulations in the NSITF.
The statement said, “In approving the implementation of the recommendations in the panel report, the President specifically approved the removal from office of the MD/CE and the three Executive Directors and their immediate replacement from the pool of General Managers of the NSITF and if necessary, sourcing of capable hands from sister corporate organisations to uplift performance in the NSITF.
“Messrs Bayo Somefun, Jasper Azuatalam, Tijani Sulaiman and Mrs. Olukemi Nelson were therefore relieved of their appointments with effect from 1st July, 2020.
“Also relieved of their appointments were the nine top management officers on suspension with the MD and EDs who had their appointments terminated compulsorily with some to be retired after demotion in ranks from their present ranks as recommended by the panel.”
The panel also recommended that Somefun and the three EDs should refund to the NSITF treasury N181.056m being illegal overpayments in salaries, allowances for overseas travels, leave allowances for self and spouses in overseas, house allowance, DSTV and club registration and extraneous allowances not approved by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
Other nine top management staff whose appointments were terminated for various infractions and who have also benefitted from the excess remuneration are also to refund such overpayments to the panel.
The staff are General Manager, Administration, Bashorun Olumide; General Manager, Finance and Accounts, Alhaji Lawan Tahir; General Manager, Claims and Compensation, Chris Esedebe; Deputy General Manager, Finance, Enyinanya Sike and Deputy General Manager, Training, Dorothay Tukura.
Others include Assistant General Manager, Audit, Victoria Ayantuga, Deputy General Manager, Investment, Dotun Adegbite, Deputy General Manager, Legal, Arokoyo Olutoye and Deputy General Manager, Procurement, AbdulRasheed Lawan.
According to the ministry, the procurement Department of the NSITF would be staffed with a new team of officers trained from the pool of existing staff and deployed in the department while all the staff that had been serving there from 2017 – 2020 would be removed and made to undergo disciplinary actions for offences ranging from injection of extraneous companies and projects after advertisement and bidding had been concluded, contract splitting, to initiation of procurement contract without budgetary allocation.