- DG hid N15bn to dodge TSA rule
- EFCC to arrest 12 for fraud
- Security agents placed on alert
Smouldering trouble appears to be trailing the 26 chief executives of federal government agencies and parastatals relieved of their plum positions, Monday this week, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Some of them may be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC for investigation, a source said last night, citing huge fraud perpetrated by heads of the agencies while in office, a scenario which attracted the big stick from President Buhari.
One of them allegedly spent N200billion on last year’s Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s presidential campaign, while several others awarded contracts to cronies at inflated figures, the source said.
The agencies under the searchlight of the anti-graft agencies include the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC; National Broadcasting Commission, NBC; Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN; Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE; National Women Development Centre, NWDC; Industrial Training Fund, ITF; Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, NIPC; Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM; and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSIT among others.
This is coming on the heels of allegation by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, yesterday that the 26 heads of parastatals and agencies sacked by the President on Monday were guilty of sabotaging the APC-led government.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “At least 10 of those sacked chief executives will be handed over to the EFCC and ICPC. The report on their misconduct is ready for these anti-graft agencies to act upon.
All security agencies received the list of those affected about 24 hours before the formal announcement. They will all be placed on surveillance until cleared.
“Some of them have actually appeared before EFCC and ICPC in the last eight months. Their cases are under various stages of investigation. The revelations are mind-boggling and it is sad that some of these chief executives continued with the impunity even after a new government had taken over.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “The President took his time to get intelligence report on the atrocities, recklessness and outright graft by some of these former CEOs before sending them packing.”
He cited the case of how a DG was implicated in a N68billion fraud and other illegal expenditures and loans allegedly secured without proper approval.
The source also claimed that a former female chief executive was alleged to have donated N700million to the PDP’s presidential campaign in January 2015; furnishing of an office at N800million which donor agencies can supply at no cost and the construction of a store at N240 million instead of N40million.
In another instance, one of the heads of the media agencies could not account for all the cash advertisements raked in by his medium during the 2015 campaign. Instead, about N5million was recorded as revenue from adverts during the 2015 polls. The DG was said to have acquired a licence for an electronic medium and diverted the sophisticated equipment to the new private outfit after using public funds to procure them.
A DG of a sensitive agency was also alleged to have hidden over N15billion in a secret account in violation of the extant regulations of the Treasury Single Account, TSA policy.
One of the affected DGs presided over an agency which was generating about N9billion internally but as at the time he was sacked, he left more than N6billion debt for the agency.
Despite the remand of her Personal Assistant in prison over alleged N17million bribery, a DG waited till Monday for President Muhammadu Buhari to wield the big stick. Besides, the award of some contracts before the inauguration of President Buhari led to the sack of some of DGs.
It will be recalled that President Buhari ordered thorough and immediate investigation into alleged sleaze in the government agencies, following the incriminating revelations that persons described as ‘budget mafia’ heavily padded the 2016 budget submitted by some of the federal government agencies and parastatals.
Presidency sources revealed how Buhari was embarrassed by the scathing allegations of fraudulent padding of allocations in the 2016 budget returned Thursday from the United Kingdom where he went for a six-day medical holiday.
Following that revelation, President Buhari ordered security operatives working in conjunction with senior officials in the Budget Office, National Planning, Ministry of Finance and other agencies to identify the culprits.
An extensive analysis of the budget exposed questionable details, with the National Assembly penultimate Tuesday suspending deliberations on the document indefinitely.
Other issue in front burners that irked the President was the revelation that some top notches within the parastatals are behind the hydra-headed problem of ghost workers in the system. Last week Minister if Finance, Kemi Adeosun revealed that, with the help of the Biometric Verification Number BVN policy, it has been discovered that one civil servant alone collected 20 salaries every month.
The adoption of BVN in processing salary payments by the federal government had stunningly thrown up no fewer than 23,000 ghost names on its payroll, a development that raised concerns about the huge amount of monies that may have been stolen from the nation’s coffers through such leakages in the federal civil service.
“What the IPPIS-BVN registration has shown us has been a real revelation. We have identified that there are people who appear on our payroll multiple times. BVN links all the accounts of that person, so we are seeing in our payroll 20 names to one BVN number,” Adeosun said during a budget defence session by the Federal Ministry of Finance before the committee.
Ghost worker syndrome had been a trend which has sapped public funds since the regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo up to the immediate past administration, which made former Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to raise alarm on the level of sabotage it was doing to the economy.
In October 2014, the federal government uncovered a total of 60,000 ghost workers in federal establishments across the country, following the staff audit of the federal government ministries.
Sacked heads of parastatals were saboteurs – Oyegun
Yesterday, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, John Oyegun said the 26 heads of parastatals and agencies sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday were guilty of sabotaging the government.
Oyegun made the allegation in a chat with State House Correspondents yesterday after a meeting of the National Working Committee of the ruling party with the President, explaining that the agitation by members of the ruling party for their removal was not necessarily to succeed them but to stem the tide of what he described as ‘internal sabotage’ that was allegedly going on in the agencies.
He also accused officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC of being part of efforts to sabotage the government.
“APC members were not concerned about the positions, we are concerned about the internal sabotage that is going on in a lot of the PDP filled positions which are critical to our national growth and development.
“It is happening in INEC, it is happening in a lot of other institutions and that is what the concern of the party is, not necessarily taking over; we should take over and they should be people who believe in the change agenda. We have no apologies for that at all, that is it,” the APC boss said.
On the controversy surrounding the figures of the 2016 budget estimates, Oyegun attributed it to the complexities arising from the adjustment of ministries from over 40 in the past administration to a little above 20 in the current dispensation.
“There is absolutely no confusion. This is a serious issue. I want you to please understand the complications that come from adjusting a structure from over 40 ministries to just over 20 ministries and the necessary adjustments of figures and movements of institutions that entails.
“It was very complicated, so it is natural that adjustments have to be made to the process and that is just what is happening,” he said.