Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said that the agency discovered N2.67 billion meant for school feeding embezzled and kept in private bank accounts.
Professor Owasanoye disclosed this on Monday at the 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption and launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development had claimed that the federal government spent about N523.3 million on school feeding programme during Coronavirus lockdown.
The Humanitarian Affairs Minister said about 124,589 households benefited across Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states.
Farouq spoke against the backdrop of allegations of corruption in the social intervention programmes.
In his speech, Owasanoye said the traced money was meant for some Federal Colleges during the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “We observed transfers to sub-TSA were 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) were tracked across 16 states.
The ICPC chairman said in education sector, 78 MDAs were reviewed and common cases of misuse of funds were uncovered.
On asset recovery, Owasanoye said:
“We have restrained or recovered by administrative or court interim and final orders assets above N3 billion, facilitated recovery of $173,000 by the whistle blower unit of FMFB&P from an erring oil company, retrained £160,000 in a UK-bank in an ongoing interim forfeiture.
“These figures exclude quantum of recoveries on return or contractors to site as a result of projects tracking initiatives.
“It should however be noted that some of these assets are subjected to ongoing cases and where suspects proved their cases physical or liquid assets will be released in accordance with laid down laws, guidelines or court directives.”
On February 19, 2019, the Niger State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says the Nigerian government’s school feeding programme is “total corruption” aimed at wastage.
Comrade Yahaya Ndako Idris, Chairman of the Niger State chapter of the NLC, said this in his remarks at a ‘Solemn Assembly’ organised by the Niger state wing of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT).
Idris said: “The Federal Government should immediately stop the school feeding programme; it is total corruption.”
On November 4 same year, ICPC said two persons involved with the programme in Kogi State were arrested for alleged N68,097,053 fraud.
Spokesperson for the Commission, Mrs. Rasheedat A. Okoduwa, disclosed this in a press release.
The suspects include Adoga Ibrahim and Khadijat Karibo.
While Ibrahim was appointed the State Focal Person in 2016 for the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) for Kogi State and left office in May 2019, Karibo was still serving as the state’s Programme Manager.
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