ICPC discovered N2.67bn COVID-19 school feeding funds in Private account

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By Mukwuzi Joseph

The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, said the agency has discovered N2.67 billion meant for the school feeding programme in private accounts.

He disclosed this on Monday, September 28, 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 said the money was meant to feed children in federal colleges around the country during the COVID-19 lockdown.

He added that ICPC also discovered over N2.5bn appropriated by a deceased senior civil servant in the Ministry of Agriculture for himself and accomplices.

Some 18 buildings, 12 business premises and 25 plots of land were also recovered in the same ministry.

Owasanoye said Under the Open Treasury Portal review carried out between January to August 15, 2020, he said 72 out of 268 ministries, departments, and agencies had cumulative infractions of N90 million.

According to him, while 33 MDAs tendered explanations that N4.1 billion was transferred to sub-Treasury Single Account, N4.2b paid to individuals had no satisfactory explanations.

“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 N2.67bn 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 findings,” he said.

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 boss further disclosed that in the education sector, 78 MDAs were reviewed 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.




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