The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission ICPC has noted that up to N2.67 billion meant for school feeding has been uncovered, during the COVID-19 lockdown in personal bank accounts.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, while delivering a 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.
He further disclosed that over N2.5 billion diverted by a senior civil servant in the Ministry of Agriculture, who is now deceased was uncovered.
Owasanoye highlighted other assets recovered in the Agric ministry to include 18 buildings, 12 business premises and 25 plots of land.
Under the 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.
“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.”Owasanoye said
The ICPC boss also said they tracked 722 projects with a threshold of N100 million (490 ZiP and 232 executive), under its 2020 constituency and executive projects tracking initiative across 16 states.
He further said that a number of projects described as ongoing in the budget were found to be new projects and were supposed to have been excluded so that the government can complete existing projects.
Prof Owasanoye said 78 MDAs were reviewed in the education sector, and common cases of misuse of funds were uncovered.
He listed some of the discoveries to include life payment of bulk sums to individuals/staff accounts, including project funds; non-deductions/remittance of taxes and IGR; payments of unapproved allowances, bulk payment to microfinance banks, payment of arrears of salary and other allowances of previous years from 2020 budget, payment of salary advance to staff, under-deduction of PAYE and payment of promotion arrears due to surplus in Personnel Cost, abuse and granting of cash advances above the approved threshold and irregular payment of allowances to principal officers.