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Group tasks government on prosecution, recovery of assets under PEF investigations

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Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF)

Worried that corruption cases against public officials, especially those related to the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), may not be properly handled, a Civil Society Organisation, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), has called for conclusive investigation of cases and complete recovery of all monies and assets associated with corrupt enrichment.
 
Furthermore, the Group urged the present administration to prosecute all those indicted by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property.
     
Addressing journalists in Lagos, yesterday, the Chairman of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraju, said the call for conclusive investigations became necessary due to what he described as President Muhammadu Buhari’s betrayal of trust of Nigerians in the government’s capacity to confront corruption without political consideration.
  
Making reference to the recent compromise and ultimate withdrawal of corruption charges against Senator Danjuma Goje, Suraju said the fight against corruption is not a government franchise, but the responsibility and obligation of all Nigerians.
    
According to HEDA, the General Manager, IT, Anne Omezi ; GM, Finance, Tekena Alison;  GM, Corporate Services, Goddy Nnadi; and GM, Operations, Aisha Fanya Usman, were invited and interrogated for full investigation under the PEF case by the Special Panel.
 
The Group alleged that investigation carried out by the Panel had revealed that Goddy Nnadi in particular allegedly had over N2 billion in three accounts with the Standard Chartered Bank and in foreign currencies, in which scores of companies paid into his private account.
 
“The Panel also uncovered that Nnadi owns a multimillion naira hotel in Owerri, Imo State, in addition to vast estates in Abuja, and other cities,” Suraju further alleged.
  
However, when The Guardian contacted Nnadi for his reaction, he debunked the allegations saying that “no one will have N2billion in his account and still remain in public service.” 
  
Nnadi debunked claims of being arrested, saying that he is presently at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, on official training.

He explained that the allegations levelled against him were a backlash as a result of a petition filed against him by some members of staff who were affected in the outcome of disciplinary actions meted to them by a committee he chaired.
  
He added that the disciplinary actions taken, which included termination of appointments and demotion of some of the affected staff were sanctioned by PEF Management Board, having followed due process.
  
Citing other abuses of office, Suraju noted that against the objectives of the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI), to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians in the Northeast, politics have crawled in, with the funds being manipulated to feather personal interests.
  
“We shall continue to monitor developments through media reports and intelligence gathering. Any attempt by the government or its official to influence, frustrate or terminate investigation will be further exposed and ultimately resisted by the people,” he added.
 
The Public Service Rules, which guide the conduct of public officers in Nigeria states that while these officers are not prohibited from holding shares in both public and private companies, “they must not be Directors in private companies.”

Also, Section four (030424) further states: “(b) A public Officer, whenever required to do so by his/her Permanent Secretary/Head of Extra-Ministerial Office, shall disclose within three working days, in confidence, full information about any investments held by him/her or his/her immediate family whether held in their own names or the names of other persons or otherwise.”

In subsection 030425, it adds that, “in accordance with the provisions of the Regulated and other Professions Private Practice Prohibition Act, (Cap.390) Part II, no officer shall engage in private practice. However, exemptions shall be granted to private Medical Practitioners and Law Lecturers in the Universities.”


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