ICPC uncovers N2.67 billion diverted school feeding funds
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), yesterday, said it had uncovered an N2.67 billion payment curiously made to some federal colleges for school feeding during the COVID-19 lockdowns, but yet diverted to personal accounts.
It also discovered over N2.5 billion appropriated by a deceased senior civil servant in the Ministry of Agriculture to himself and cronies as well as recovered 18 buildings, 12 business premises, and 25 plots of land.
Moreover, the organisation retrieved N16 billion from the ministry – being lodgments into individual accounts – for non-official purposes.
ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, made the disclosures 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” in Abuja.
He explained that the open treasury portal review carried out between January and August 15 this year on 268 ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) indicted 72 of them for N90 million malfeasance.
Owasanoye explained that while 33 MDAs said N4.1 billion was transferred to sub-TSA, the N4.2 billion paid to individuals had no satisfactory clarifications.
According to him, “we observed that transfers to sub-TSA were to prevent disbursement from being monitored.”
He added: “Nevertheless, we discovered payments to some federal colleges for school feeding in the sum of N2.67 billion during the lockdowns when the children are not in school, and some of the money ended up in personal accounts. We have commenced investigations into the matter.”
The ICPC boss also said under its 2020 constituency and executive projects’ tracking initiative, 722 schemes with a threshold of N100 million were tracked across 16 states.
He noted that a number of the projects, described as ongoing in the budget, were found to be new ventures that ought to have been discarded to enable the government to complete the existing ones.
Furthermore, Owasanoye said the commission equally found out that uncompleted projects sponsored by legislators who did not return got abandoned in addition to the use of companies loyal to sponsors and firms belonging to civil servants in executing the works, which were either abandoned or poorly executed in the long run.
The chairman said in the education sector, 78 MDAs were found wanting of injudicious deployment of funds.
Some of the discoveries included life payment of bulk sums to individuals/staff accounts, non-remittances of taxes and IGR, payments of unapproved allowances, bulk payment to microfinance banks, offsetting of pay arrears and perks of previous years from the 2020 budget besides payment of salary advance to workers, under-deduction of PAYE and payment of promotion owed due to surpluses 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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