The House of Representatives is to investigate allegations of gross violation of the Public Procurement Act by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance and First Bank of Nigeria Limited over grant to Oyo State to procure agricultural equipment.
The House was not impressed by the fact that the primary beneficiaries of the grant were denied access to it because some public and private sectors
officials manipulated the process.
The Public Procurement Committee saddled with the responsibility of investigating the matter was given three days to report back to the House for further legislative action.
This followed the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance by Bode Ayorinde (PDP, Ondo), who recalled that in 2009, the CBN established the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources to fast-track the development of the agricultural sector; enhance national food security; reduce the cost of credit in agricultural production; increase national output; generate employment; and raise the level of foreign exchange earnings of the country.
He said since the Scheme was wholly funded by the Federal Government, all stakeholders are required under Section 15(1)(a)&(b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 (“the Act”) to comply fully with the Act in all its procurement activities.
He however noted that contrary to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act and extant guidelines and regulations from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), the administration of the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme in Oyo State was fraught with abuses, corruption and breach of the Public Procurement Act.
According to him, a number of approvals were issued under the Scheme for agricultural equipment to be procured under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme based on which funds were released to Oyo State government and domiciled in First Bank of Nigeria.
He however regretted that beneficiary farmers in Oyo State have not received the disbursements, the suppliers of the agricultural equipment have not been paid and there are rife allegations that the State Government in collusion with officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the CBN and F irst Bank have opted to deposit the funds in a fixed deposit account and the interest income derived therefrom is shared amongst this cartel.
“This is a classic case of gross misconduct and the highest form of unethical behavior by First Bank of Nigeria.
“The actions of these officials in the public and private sector is undermining and sabotaging the intention of the Federal Government in making Nigeria fully self-sufficient in food production and an exporter of food and raw materials.
“If urgent steps are not taken to investigate these allegations and address any proven infractions, an institutional system of manipulation of the procurement and disbursement process would have been created and an awkward situation would have been created which will lead to financial losses to the Nigerian government”.
The motion was unanimously adopted after a voice vote.
NUC, NYSC to block ‘fake’ foreign-trained graduates from service
The National Universities Commission (NUC), in collaboration with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), on Tuesday said it had put measures in place to block fake foreign-trained graduates from partaking in the compulsory one-year national service.
The NUC said it would continue to ensure the credibility of certificates issued by Nigerian universities and block fake foreign-trained graduates coming into the country.
Its Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, spoke when the NYSC Director General, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, visited him at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
A statement in Abuja by the NYSC Director of Press and Public Relations, Adenike Adeyemi, regretted the challenges in vetting the certificates obtained from universities established by Nigerians outside the country.
The NUC chief said many universities produce quality graduates while some produce graduates who cannot defend their certificates.
He said the commission had not approved the degrees of some online universities operating in the country.
Rasheed added that the commission had approached the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to shut down some illegal universities operating in Nigeria.
“NUC and NYSC must work together to help the country in producing quality graduates. The NUC will continue to certify the credibility of certificates obtained from Nigerian universities,” he said.
The NYSC DG said the scheme will not issue Certificate of National Service to unqualified graduates.
Eid-el-kabir: FG declares Monday, Tuesday public holidays
The Federal Government has declared Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th August as Public Holidays to mark the 2019 Eid-Al-Kabir celebrations.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Barr. Georgina Ehuriah, who made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated the Muslim faithful on the occasion .
She called on all Nigerians, at home and in diaspora, to use the period of this year’s Eid-Al-Kabir celebration to embrace the virtues of love, humility, peace and sacrifice as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Mohammed.
She urged Nigerians to shun any form of disruptive tendencies and join hands with the Federal Government to build a peaceful, strong and united Nigeria so as to achieve an enviable Next Level of growth and development.
According to a statement by Director (Press & Public Relations), Mohammed Manga, the Permanent Secretary reaffirmed the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari led-administration to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians, adding that Security Agencies under the Ministry have been directed to ensure the provision of adequate security, before, during and after the Eid-Al-Kabir celebrations.
She restated government’s desire for all Nigerians to live a life of sacrifice, charity and love for one another.
Bar. Ehuriah wished Nigerians a happy, peaceful and fulfilling Eid-Al-Kabir celebrations.
N9.9b fraud: Court freezes Lagos accounts
THE Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the freezing of three accounts belonging to the Lagos State Government over an alleged N9.9 billion fraud.
Justice Chuka Obiozor made the order following an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He ordered the accounts’ “suspension” pending conclusion of investigation and possible prosecution of the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Adewale Adesanya.
The accounts are domiciled in First City Monument Bank (numbered 5617984012), Access Bank (0060949275) and Zenith Bank (1011691254).
In a supporting affidavit, an EFCC investigator, Kungmi Daniel, said the commission discovered huge inflow of N9,927,714,443.29 from the state accounts into the FCMB account.
He said the account, operated by Adesanya, was opened last September 17 during the Akinwunmi Ambode administration.
According to the deponent, investigators found that Adesanya and other signatories made fraudulent transfers from the state’s accounts and dissipated the funds.
“The trend is that the account always witnessed huge inflow from Lagos State Government in the above scheduled accounts managed by the respondent (Adesanya).
“There have been concerted efforts and attempts to dissipate the contents of the accounts listed in the schedule to this application.
“Without freezing the nominated accounts and temporarily forfeiting the money to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there is no way the fraud being perpetrated using the scheduled accounts can be stopped,” the EFCC said.
EFCC counsel Mohammed Abbas urged the court to grant the order temporarily attaching the accounts to enable it to conclude its investigations.
Justice Obiozor granted the prayers and adjourned till Friday.
Some legal sources wondered last night why the victim, the state government, is being made to suffer while those suspected to be involved in the matter are left untouched.