House Investigates ITF over Alleged Fraud



James Emejo in Abuja

The House of Representatives wednesday passed a resolution to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate allegations of sharp practices and fraud in the operations of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).

Essentially, the lawmakers are expected to beam their searchlight on the utilisation of its funds from 2010 to date. The committee is requested to report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.

Also yesterday, the House passed a motion calling on the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to postpone the planned elections into the boards of the National Sports Federations and recall all members of the boards of the various sports federations that were dissolved.

It further mandated the Committee on Sports to investigate the role of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in interfering and issuing the guidelines for elections into the Sports Federations and report back to the House within three weeks.

Meanwhile, the House resolve was consequent upon a motion by Hon. Kingsley Chinda on the urgent need to address the non-payment of SWISS allowances to students by the ITF.

The House noted the failure of the ITF to pay allowances to students who participated in the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) which is one of the core mandates for which the fund was set up.

It said it was unpatriotic and unconscionable for the ITF or any government agency to deliberately bring untold hardship to students by withholding funds that have been released for payment of their SIWES allowances.

Chinda further argued that unless urgent action was taken to check the prevailing sharp practices in the operations of the fund, students would continue to be ripped off.

Nevertheless, the motion by Hon. Ayodeji Adebayo Joseph noted that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports recently dissolved the Boards of the various National Sports Federations and issued guidelines for elections into the Federations. The guidelines provide that prospective candidates who had spent two terms of four years each would not be eligible to contest elections into the sports federations appeared to have stirred the ministry.

In taking a position on the matter, the House observed that each federation derives its powers from its constitution and is autonomous and any attempt to tamper with the constitution without due process or by fiat was unlawful.