How termites eat up expenditures documents containing N17bn value at NSITF

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Nigeria is full of wonder everyday, even in this 21st century, imagine you hear or reads report saying Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has disclosed that termites ate up some of its documents containing expenditures worth N17.1 billion.

The NSITF management made the allegation against termites when it appeared before the Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) on Friday.

According to officials of the agency, the said documents contained details of spendings by the agency in 2013.

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Details of this expenditure and more are contained in the 2018 audit report of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF).

The OAuGF, had in the report, which is now being considered by SPAC, queried the agency for spending billions without appropriate supporting documents.Confronted by the Senate panel, the NSITF management failed to justify the spending of the fund.

According to the OAuGF, the N17.158 billion represented the total amount transferred by the NSITF from its Skye Bank and First Bank accounts into various untraceable accounts between January and December 2013.

These account, it said, belongs to individuals and companies.

The report also issued 50 different queries for alleged misappropriation of funds against the agency.

The report read in part, “Management of NSITF, as shown in statements of account number 1750011691 with Skye Bank Plc, for the period 1st January, 2013 to 20th December, 2013, and statements of account number 2001754610 with First Bank Plc for the period January 7, 2013 to February 28, 2013, transferred amounts totalling N17,158,883,034.69 to some persons and companies from these accounts.

“However, payment vouchers relating to the transfers together with their supporting documents were not provided for audit. Consequently, the purpose(s) for the transfers could not be authenticated.“

The OAuGF said these were in violation of Financial Regulation 601 which states that “all payment entries in the cashbook/accounts shall be vouched for on one of the prescribed treasury forms. Vouchers shall be made out in favour of the person or persons to whom the money is actually due.

“Under no circumstances shall a cheque be raised, or cash paid for services for which a voucher has not been raised.”The Senate committee chaired by Matthew Urhoghide, had summoned both the past and present managements of the agency and when they were confronted with the queries from the audit report, no official could give a satisfactory explanation for the spending.

The past management of the agency in 2013 explained to the panel that they left behind the relevant cash vouchers for the transactions.

The agency’s Managing Director from 2010 to 2016, Umar Abubakar, allegedly said that he was aware of the query and had no explanations to render since the audit exercise was not carried out during his tenure.

Adebayo Somefun, who headed the agency from May 2017 to July 2020, in his response maintained that those in the agency’s account section should be able to trace the documents.

However, Michael Akabogu, who is the agency’s current Managing Director, told the panel that the documents were in the organisation’s possession.

Akabogu said, “The container the said documents were kept by past management has not only been beaten by rains over the years but even possibly been eaten up by termites.

“I told the past management officers the need for them to help us out in answering this query with necessary documents which have not been made available for us.”Also, an official of the agency, whose name was not goven, explained to the panel that the container in question has been under lock and key and abandoned in an isolated area within the premises of the organisation in Abuja.

After listening to them, Urhoghide, mandated both members of past and present management of the NSITF to re-appear before the panel with all necessary evidence concerning the transactions unfailingly on Thursday, September 22, 2022.

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