The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has invited some top officials of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) for questioning over gratuity payment of N47m to the Managing Director of the Fund, Mrs Maureen Allagoa.
In a letter dated September 14, 2023, with reference number ICPC/SSD/TB/197/2023 and directed to the MD of the fund, those invited include Head of Administration, Head of Finance and Investment, as well as Head of Audit and Inspectorate.
The letter, signed by the Head of SIU, SSD of the anti-graft agency, Wakili Joshua Musa, on behalf of the Chairman of the commission, Bolaji Owasanoye, and exclusively obtained by Daily Trust, directed all the invited officials to report to the headquarters of the anti-graft agency in Abuja.
It also directed the officials to bring along “personal and secret files of Mrs Maureen Allagoa (all volumes as General Manager, Executive Director and Director-General/CEO maintained by the fund)”, as well as records of gratuity payment made to retired staff of the fund from 2019 to date.
The letter added that the records of gratuity payment made to retired staff of the fund from 2019 to date would include all payment vouchers and evidence of transfer.
Daily Trust had reported how the MD approved the sum of N47m for herself as gratuity while still in active service.
A memo with the title, “RE: Gratuity Computation for Mrs Maureen Allagoa – (Aa/11272) for the period of service from September 2016 to February 2023 as General Manager and Executive Director respectively”, had approved the said payment to Mrs Allagoa.
It showed that N11,916,336.93 was approved as her gratuity while serving as general manager and N36,000,000 approved as her gratuity as executive director totaling N47,916 336.93.
The document, with a Reference Number: NSITF/AC/I&A/5/S.4/B117 and dated July 3, 2023, was from Principal Manager, Audit and Inspectorate, and routed through Assistant General Manager, Head, Audit and Inspectorate to the Deputy General Manager, Head, Audit and Inspectorate.
But the ICPC, in its letter titled: “INVESTIGATION ACTIVITIES: LETTER OF INVITATION /REQUEST FOR INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS”, described the payment as a violation of the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
Although some officials of the agency, including the spokesman, Nwachukwu Godson, told our correspondent during a recent visit to the headquarters of the fund that the MD refunded the money when it came to public knowledge, Daily Trust could not, however, confirm the veracity of the claim.
Daily Trust also understands that Mrs Allagoa immediately directed the General Manager of Human Resources Management to update all her records in the file, including the former Minister of Labour’s payment approval for her retirement benefits.
Several phone calls (both voice and WhatsApp calls) to the spokesperson of the ICPC, Azuka Ogugua, on Thursday, were not answered.
She was also yet to reply to the SMS and WhatsApp message sent to her as at when filing this report.