President Buhari sacks Adebayo Somefun as MD of NSITF, names replacement .

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The suspended Managing Director of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, Adebayo Somefun has been fired by President Muhammadu Buhari for spending N3.4 billion on “non-existent employee training.”

To replace Adebayo Somefun, the President approved the appointment of Akabogu Michael as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, suspended Somefun and three other NSITF Executive members last year for breaking procurement laws and other financial breaches.

Ngige had accused the previous management team of squandering N3.4 billion on “non-existent employee training split into roughly 196 different consultancy contracts in order to dodge the Ministerial Tenders Board and Federal Executive Council (FEC) clearances.”

Following their suspension, Buhari established a Presidential Joint Board and Audit Investigation Panel in July 2020 to look into the NSITF’s violations of the Public Procurement Act of 2007, as well as the Financial Regulations (FR).

According to a statement from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment’s Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations, Charles Akpan, the President acted on the panel’s report to approve the termination of Somefun and also ordered the re-constitution of the NSITF management board on Monday.

Somefun and the three Executive Directors accused of financial misdeeds were ordered to refund N181, 056,000 million to the NSITF treasury for illegal payments in salaries, allowances such as overseas travels, leave allowances for self and spouses in overseas, house allowance, DSTV and club registration, and other extraneous allowances not approved by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC).

“These financial infractions and other serious prima facie established malfeasance had resulted in the President authorising the formation of the Panel and the subsequent suspension from office of the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive, as well as the three Executive Directors of Finance and Investment, Operations, and Administration and Human Resources,” according to the statement. On the Honourable Minister of Labour & Employment’s advice, nine additional top management officers in the General Manager Cadre were also suspended, along with the MD and three Executive Directors.

“In endorsing the Panel’s recommendations for execution, the President specifically approved:

1) The dismissal from office of the MD/CE and the three (3) Executive Directors, with immediate replacement from the NSITF’s pool of General Managers and, if necessary, sourcing of experienced hands from sister corporate organisations to improve the NSITF’s performance.

“As a result, Messrs. Bayo Somefun, Jasper Azuatalam, Tijani Sulaiman, and Mrs. Olukemi Nelson were discharged of their posts with effect from July 1, 2020. The nine (9) senior Management Officers on suspension, including the MD and EDs, had their appointments terminated compulsorily, with some being forced to resign after being demoted in ranks from their current Ranks, as recommended by the Panel.

“The MD and the three (3) Executive Directors are to refund the NSITF Treasury the sum of N181, 056,000 for illegal payments in salaries, allowances such as overseas travels, leave allowances for self and spouses in overseas, house allowance, DSTV and club registration, and other extraneous allowances not approved by the National Security Council (NSIWC).

“An additional nine top management employees whose appointments were terminated for various violations and who have benefited from the extra income are required to reimburse the Panel for such overpayments. These employees include: I Bashorun Olumide, General Manager, Administration; ii) Alhaji Lawan Tahir, General Manager, Finance and Accounts; iii) Chris Esedebe, General Manager, Claims and Compensation; iv) Enyinanya Sike, Deputy General Manager, Finance; v) Dorothay Tukura, Deputy General Manager, Training; vii) Victoria Ayantuga, Assistant General Manager, Audit; and vii)

“The “total overhaul” of the NSITF’s Procurement Department, with a new team of Procurement Officers being trained from the pool of existing staff and deployed to the Department, while all staff serving there from 2017 to 2020 are removed and subjected to disciplinary action for offences ranging from the injection of extraneous companies and projects after advertisement and biddin The Board will impose the appropriate official sanction on all officers who have been charged.

“The President also approved and directed that the Head of Service of the Federation terminate the appointment and remove Engr. Abdulrasheed Lawal from the Public Service with effect from the date of suspension,” according to the statement.

“The President also approved that the Minister of Labour and Employment send erring companies and individuals who default/neglect/refuse to make refunds of illegal monies paid to them to the Anti-Graft Agencies (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission – EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission – ICPC) for further action.”