Why Buhari sacked Somefun as NSITF MD; Akabogu Micheal now in charge

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked the suspended Managing Director of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund for spending N3.4 billion on “non-existent staff training.”

The President approved the appointment of Akabogu Michael as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer to replace Somefun.

Somefun and three other Executive members of the NSITF were suspended last year by Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige for breaching procurement rules and committing other financial infractions.

Ngige had accused the then Management team of lavishing N3.4 billion 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) approvals.”

Following their suspension, Buhari inaugurated a Presidential Joint Board and Audit Investigation Panel set up in July 2020 to investigate the infractions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, and the Financial Regulations (FR) in the NSITF.

A statement by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan said the President acted on the report of the panel to approve the sack of Somefun and also ordered the reconstitution of the management board of NSITF on Monday.

Somefun and the three Executive Directors fingered in the financial infractions were asked to refund to the NSITF treasury N181, 056,000 million being illegal over payments in salaries, allowances such as 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 (NSIWC).

The statement said: “These financial infractions and other serious prima facia established malfeasance had resulted in the President approving the setting up of the Panel and the subsequent suspension from Office of the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive, and the three Executive Directors respectively of Finance and Investment, Operations, and Administration and Human Resources. Nine other top Management Officers in the General Manager Cadre were also suspended with the MD and the three Executive Directors on the recommendations of the Honourable Minister of Labour & Employment.

“In approving the implementation of the recommendations in the Panel’s report, the President specifically approved: The removal from Office of the MD/CE and the three (3) Executive Directors and their immediate replacement from the pool of General Managers of the NSITF and if necessary sourcing of capable hands from sister like corporate organizations 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 (9) 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.

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