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CRIME WATCH: N2.67Billion School Feeding Funds Found In Private Accounts – ICPC

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Another N2.5bn in deceased Agric ministry staff

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), on Monday disclosed that it uncovered the sum of N2.67 billion payment made to some federal colleges for school feeding during lockdown when children are not in school, ended up in personal accounts.

It said it also discovered over N2.5 billion appropriated by senior civil servant in ministry of Agric now deceased for himself and cronies.

It also listed other assets recovered in the Agric ministry to include 18 buildings, 12 business premises and 25 plots of land.

The Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, made the disclosure yesterday in his keynote address at the second National Summit on Diminishing Corruption with the theme: “Together Against Corruption and Launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy”.

The event held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said under Open Treasury Portal review carried out between January to August 15, 2020, out of 268 Ministries, Departments and Agendas (MDAs) 72 of them had cumulative infractions of N90 million. He said while 33 MDAs tendered explanations that N4.1 billion was transferred to sub-TSA, N4.2 billion paid to individuals had no satisfactory explanations.

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According to Owasanoye, “We observed that transfers to sub-TSA was to prevent disbursement from being monitored. Nevertheless, we discovered payments to some federal colleges for school feeding in the sum of N2.67 billion during lockdown when the children are not in school, and some of the money ended up in personal accounts. We have commenced investigations into these finding.”

The ICPC chairman also said under its 2020 constituency and executive projects tracking initiative, 722 projects with a threshold of N100 million (490 ZiP and 232 executive) was tracked across 16 states.

He noted that a number of projects described as ongoing in the budget, were found to be new projects that ought to have been excluded in order to enable government complete exiting projects; absence of needs assessment resulted in projects recommended for communities that do not require them being abandoned; projects sited in private houses on private land thus appropriating common asset to personal use, hence denying communities of the benefit; absence of synergy between outgoing project sponsors and their successors.

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Owasanoye, added that the commission also found that uncompleted projects sponsored by legislators who do not return get abandoned to the loss of the community and the state; use of companies owned by sponsor’s friends or relatives or companies belonging to civil servants in implementing MDAs to execute projects which are abandoned or poorly performed; conspiracy between legislative aides of sponsors and implementing MDAs and contractors to undermine quality of project without knowledge of the sponsor; vague project description that result in diversion of funds by implementing MDAs or project sponsor with collusion of contractors and absence of community ownership of project because they were not consulted or largely ignorant of projects allocated to them.

The ICPC chairman said in education sector, 78 MDAs were reviewed and common cases of misuse of funds were uncovered.

Some of the discoveries include life payment of bulk sums to individuals/staff accounts, including project funds; non-deductions/remittance of taxes and IGR; payments of unapproved allowances, bulk payment to micro finance banks, payment of arrears of salary and other allowances of previous years from 2020 budget, payment of salary advance to staff, under-deduction of PAYE and payment of promotion arrears due to surplus in Personnel Cost, abuse and granting of cash advances above the approved threshold and irregular payment of allowances to principal officers.

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On asset recovery, Owasanoye said the commission recovered N16 billion from ministry.




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Jake Clifford is a Nigerian Born blogger and a fast growing Journalist, whose aim is to inform Nigerians with happening across Nigeria. Send story tips to him via [email protected] or

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