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ICPC probes top agric ministry officials over alleged N600m fraud

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, has quizzed four senior officials in the Department of Farm Inputs Supports Services of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, over alleged diversion of funds running into hundreds of millions of Naira.

The Invitation was in connection with the alleged diversion of funds meant for monitoring exercise and sensitisation programmes. The civil servants invited by the ICPC were the Director of the Department Mr. Kwaido Sani, Deputy Director Mr. Buba Ardo Ishaku, Mr. Elam Sam, and Head of Accounting Unit Mrs Morenike Damola.

The ICPC invitation was through a letter referenced: ICPC/OPS/GBP/OBS/220, addressed to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, drawing the attention of the Head, Farm Inputs Support Services Department.

The letter dated July 19, 2023, signed by Akeem Lawal, Director, Operation, on behalf of the ICPC Chairman was received and acknowledged on July 20, by the office of the Permanent Secretary.

Titled: “Investigation Activities”, the Commission stated that it was investigating alleged violation of the Corrupt Practices and Other Relates Offences Act 2000.

“Pursuant to Section 28 of the said Act, you are kindly requested to release the underlisted persons to appear before the undersigned at the ICPC headquarters on Thursday, July 20, 2023″ the letter stated.”

Another similar letter referenced: ICPC/OPS/GBP/OBS/222, dated July 21, 2023, was written by the ICPC to the Permanent Secretary (Agric Ministry) for the attention of the Director, Finance and Account.

The letter titled, “Investigation Activities” requested Permanent Secretary to release the Director, Finance and Account to appear at the ICPC.

“The Commission is investigating alleged violation of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Pursuant to Section 28 of the above Act, you are kindly requested to release the Director, Finance and Account to appear before the undersigned on Wednesday 26th July, 2023 at the ICPC Headquarters Abuja, by 10:00am.

“The officer is to come along with Certified True Copies of the under listed documents of ALL payments made to the following staff of Department of Farm Input Support Services Department from 1st January 2022 to date. Kwaido Mohammed S; Buba Ishaku Ardo; Damola Morenike; Elam Sam; Aminu Dayyabu Mohammed; Mohammed Ayuba George and Chimezie Bright” the letter stated.”

The documents requested by the ICPC were payment vouchers, minutes of authorizing the payment, authority letter to make payment, and any other relevant documents.

It was learnt that the civil servants were arrested in a sting operation in their office and ended up being remanded in the ICPC custody for five days, aside the Director that was released on health ground.

A source hinted that a cummulative amount of over N600m withdrawals were made from one of the Director’s account and changed to dollars and allegedly given to the Permanent Secretary.

Asides this, it was learnt that huge sums of money were allegedly moved from the accounts of the department into private accounts of the affected civil servants.

Also, it was gathered that over N200m was found in the bank account of one of the officials that was grilled, while over N100m was found in the bank account of one of his children.

A source said that over N250m cash was found in the Abuja house of one of the suspects just as investigation by the ICPC detectives revealed an inflow of over N60m in six months into the bank account of one of the suspects. The ICPC has also alleged to have seized landed properties, including a bakery and one herbal hospital, it was revealed. (The Guardian)

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