Drama:Trust fund agency claims termites eat up N17.1 billion worth expenditures documents

A mild drama has again reared its ugly head in Nigeria, as management of an agency, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) claimed that termites have allegedly eaten up some documents containing expenditures worth N17.1 billion of the establishment.

Penpushing reports that, officials of the agency made this shocking development known when the management appeared before the Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) on Friday in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

These documents are said to contain details of spendings by the agency in 2013 and more are also contained in the 2018 audit report of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF), while in the report, which is now being considered by the Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC), the Auditor General of the Federation, queried the agency for spending billions without appropriate supporting documents.

Penpushing further reports that leadership of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) could not, however, justify the spending of the money when confronted by the panel, while the account is said to belongs to individuals and companies

The Office of the Auditor General of the Federation explained the N17.158 billion represented the total amount, transferred by the agency from its Skye Bank and First Bank accounts, into various untraceable accounts between January and December 2013.

Penpushing also reports that, the report equally  issued 50 different queries for alleged misappropriation of funds against the agency, while some transactions revealed that amounts totaling N17,158,883,034.69 were transferred  to some persons and companies from the identified accounts,”

“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’, the report said.

“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 report added

Penpushing reports that, the auditor general pointed out that these are 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.”

Penpushing further reports that, the chairman of the Senate panel, Matthew Urhoghide, summoned both past and present managements of the agency, and when confronted with the queries from the audit report, no official could give a satisfactory explanation for the spending.

The past management that headed the agency in 2013 told the panel that they left behind the relevant cash vouchers for the transactions, and the agency’s Managing Director from 2010 to 2016, Umar Abubakar, allegedly claimed that he was aware of the query and had no explanations to render since the audit exercise was not carried out during his tenure.

The head of the agency from May 2017 to July 2020, Adebayo Somefun, on his part insisted that those in the agency’s account section should be able to trace the documents, but Michael Akabogu, the incumbent Managing Director, said the documents were in the organisation’s possession.

‘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 on the need for them to help us out in answering this query with necessary documents which have not been made available for us.”

Penpushing also reports that, the panel chairman, thereafter, mandated both members of past and present management of the agency to re-appear before the panel with all necessary evidence concerning the transactions unfailingly on Thursday, September 22, 2022.

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