Up to N2.67 billion meant for school feeding during lockdown has been uncovered in personal bank accounts, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said Monday.
The Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said this in his keynote address at the second National Summit on Diminishing Corruption with the theme: “Together Against Corruption and the launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy” held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Prof. Owasanoye, who said the payment was made to some federal colleges, also revealed that over N2.5 billion was appropriated by late senior civil servant in the Ministry of Agric for himself and cronies.
The commission highlighted other assets recovered in the Agric ministry to include 18 buildings, 12 business premises and 25 plots of land.
He said under Open Treasury Portal review carried out between January to August 15, 2020, out of 268 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (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.
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 boss 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 existing projects.
He also observed 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.
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.
Prof Owasanoye said in education sector, 78 MDAs were reviewed and common cases of misuse of funds were uncovered.