NYSC Vows To Prosecute Fraudulent Ex-Corp Members

A file photo of National Youth Service Corp members in action. Credit: NYSC/Twitter
A file photo of National Youth Service Corp members in action. Credit: NYSC/Twitter

 

The Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, has announced plans by the Service to revisit cases of ex-corps members who served under the scheme fraudulently.

Speaking at a meeting with officials of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission in Abuja on Wednesday, Brigadier-General Ibrahim explained that those found culpable will face prosecution.

The move, according to the NYSC chief, will be carried out in partnership with the ICPC and help rid the nation of corrupt-minded persons.

“Those who attempt to illegally participate in the program of the scheme or have participated in the past through fraudulent means will be prosecuted when discovered,” Brigadier-General Ibrahim said.

“It must also be noted that the scheme will not entertain any request for respite or leniency by those who deliberately participate illegally in this program and are seeking restitution for their past fraudulent acts.

“We will always allow the law to take its course on such matters through the prosecution of such persons and organisations or institutions who aided and abetted them.”

Annually over 250,000 graduates engage in the NYSC scheme to gain work experience and meet youths from different backgrounds while serving the nations in unique locations.

Alleged Fraud: ICPC Begins NDDC Probe, Interrogates Top Management Staff

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it has commenced an investigation into various allegations of corruption and misappropriation of COVID-19 funds in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, disclosed in a statement on Saturday that some top directors and staff of the agency have been quizzed after months of intelligence gathering.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in July, ordered a speedy and coordinated investigation into the corruption scandal in the agency following a series of drama, blames, and counter-accusations among others.

According to the ICPC spokesperson, top officials are being interrogated in the alleged diversion of N5.47 billion meant for the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers handling the Covid-19 pandemic in the nine states of NDDC.

“The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has quizzed top management staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), over allegations of various acts of corruption such as diversion of funds, procurement fraud and misappropriation of the agency’s Covid-19 funds.

“Some directors of NDDC were interrogated at the Commission’s headquarters recently, after months of intelligence gathering, following the receipt of petitions from Nigerians on the alleged illegalities and contracts fraud by some officials of the agency,” it added.

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“Top officials of the agency are being investigated for their complicity in an alleged diversion of N5.474 billion meant for the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers handling the Covid-19 pandemic in the nine states of NDDC,” the statement read in part.

Mrs Ogugua said that the commission is also investigating the payment of monies for some staff training abroad, which was never attended due to the global lockdown measures enforced to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“The Commission is also investigating the payments of millions of naira to the staff of the agency for foreign training during the Covid-19 full lockdown which were never attended, as well as the non-payment of entitlements to students on foreign scholarships.

“Other allegations being investigated by ICPC include the selling of back-dated contract award letters for projects and awards of contracts that were not captured in the budget of the NDDC,” she stated.

The ICPC spokesperson added that the Commission has retrieved relevant documents that will help in uncovering the truth, recover diverted funds and prosecute anyone found to have breached the law.

The NDDC Saga

The NDDC has been a subject of controversy in the last few months over allegations of corruption in the award of contracts and the non-payment of Nigerian scholars under the payroll of the commission.

This prompted the National Assembly to invite the Minister of Niger Delta, Mr Godwill Akpabio, and the former Interim Management Committee head, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei.

Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council approved N722.3 million for eight field forensic auditors to audit the NDDC in a bid to unravel the level of corruption in the agency in charge of the development of the Niger Delta region.

Alleged Fraud: Court Jails Ex-Finance Director Of Niger Delta Ministry

 

A Federal High Court sitting in the (FCT) has sentenced a former Finance Director of the Niger Delta Ministry, Mr. Ayinla Abibu, to a one-year jail term.

The court also asked him to forfeit two of his lands in Kubwa and Bwari, both in Abuja.

In a statement by the Spokesperson for the commission, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, states the convict was charged by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for embezzling the sum of N60 Million from the Federal Government through the use of a front company, Zeocat Nigeria Limited, in March 2014.

Abibu was charged by the Commission before Hon Justice Olukayode Adeniyi for defrauding the Federal Government in collusion with a former Principal Accountant in the Ministry, Mr. Kabiru Poloma, by fraudulently withdrawing money from the Constituency Project account of the Ministry domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The 60-year-old convict was said to have used the proceeds of the fraud to acquire a house in Ogbomosho, Oyo state, and plots of land in Kubwa and Bwari of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

Before his sentencing, the defence lawyer, Abiola Akinwale, pleaded with the Court to be lenient with the convict by granting him a lighter sentence as the convict falls amongst the age vulnerable to COVID-19.

The defence lawyer further told the court that a longer sentence would quicken the death of the convict’s aged parents who were 99 and 92 years old respectively.

The ICPC Counsel, Mr. George Lawal, while conceding the powers of the sentence to the court, stated that the grievous nature of the crime committed by the convict demanded that he should be punished accordingly.

Lawal argued that a lesser sentence might fail to serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders.

He said, “In the circumstances, it is only fair that restitution is made in the equal value of what was taken. This will send a clear message that crime does not pay”.

ICPC Lying, Persecuting Me Unjustly, Bauchi Governor Cries Out

(FILE) Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed.

 

Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has cried out over what he describes as an unjust treated meted on him by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

In a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mukhtar Gidado, Governor Mohammed alleged that the anti-graft agency is persecuting him unjustly by accusing him of abusing office during his tenue as FCT Minister.

The governor noted that the corruption allegations levelled against him by the commission were “false and mischievous.”

“We refute the Commission’s story in its entirety and state that Senator Bala Mohammed did not flout any policy or break any law, known to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria nor did he, in any way, breach his oath of office to warrant perniciously scandalizing his name or subjecting members of his family to mindless persecution as the ICPC is wilfully pushing.

“Zinaria International School was established and had been long operational, offering quality education, in a cost-effective manner, to all and sundry, long before Senator Bala Mohammed became Minister of the FCT.

“Like any other corporate entity, due to planned expansion, the School applied for land, a legitimate right it would have exercised, irrespective of whomsoever was the Minister of the FCT, at the time,” the statement partly read.

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The governor’s reaction come five days after the ICPC announced it had seized a multi-million-naira property belonging to the Bauchi leader.

The commission on its website alleged that the governor, in his capacity as FCT Minister, “allocated the said property to a school that had himself and family members as directors and shareholders, despite an existing right of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture over the land.”

But the governor’s spokesman said: “The shareholders and directors of the School are Nigerians who, by their respective ages, were qualified to apply for and be allocated land if they met the conditions precedent.

“And we make bold to say that all the names listed in the MEMAT of the School are eminently qualified to be allocated land.”

COVID-19: ICPC Sets Up Team To Monitor Spending Of Donated Funds

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has set up an independent team to monitor expenditures from the COVID-19 Special Intervention Funds.

Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, a spokesperson for the anti-graft agency, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

She noted that the ICPC set up the COVID-19 Funds Monitoring Team in the execution of its preventive mandate in Section 6 (b)-(d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

According to the commission’s spokesperson, the team is to prevent possible financial abuses that may arise in the management of the funds.

She explained that the team would monitor the disbursement and utilisation of the funds, donations, and other receipts mobilised towards combating the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

Okoduwa added that the team would deploy the appropriate strategy to prevent incidences of corruption that may have a negative impact on the efforts of the government to deal effectively with the pandemic.

She stressed that the team’s work would complement the efforts of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 with regards to transparency and accountability in the management of the funds.

The ICPC spokesperson warned those involved in the management chain of the COVID-19 response to avoid actions that could result in any criminal investigation.

“While the Commission salutes all those in the frontline of battling the outbreak and everyone facilitating the national effort behind the scene, it hereby reiterates its earlier advisory to all actors in the management chain of the COVID-19 response to steer clear of all unethical and corrupt acts that could result in criminal investigation and consequences,” the statement said.

PEBEC, ICPC Collaborate To Prosecute Corrupt Public Officials

 

The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has partnered with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate and prosecute public officials and civil servants accused of corrupt practices.

This was disclosed by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who presided over the meeting of PEBEC at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Prof Osinbajo said the direct connection between the agencies will help in achieving the Federal Government’s reform agenda, especially regarding all government MDAs regulating business environment responsibilities.

“There is a lot of talk about high-level corruption and some public officials stealing money, etc; but I think for average Nigerians, the point of contact is really this sort of approvals for ID cards, for passports, customs, officials, police, and so on.”

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He stressed that complaints from Nigerians regarding activities and practices in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) bordering on suspected corruption and deliberate stalling of reform efforts submitted on the REPORTGOV.NG portal of PEBEC will be investigated by the ICPC.

“I think that if this collaboration is robust enough, we will be able to kill two birds with one stone; first is improving our Ease of Doing Business, second is our anti-corruption ranking internationally because some of the rankings is a perception index. So, people are simply asked, what is your perception about corruption in Nigeria?

“So, if we work on these issues, we can really do a lot in terms of improving the image of the country, not just in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, but also in terms of the perception of corruption”.

The meeting had in attendance, top government officials including the Ministers of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo; the Ag. Head of Service, Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan.

Others include Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd); Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammed Babandede; and other senior government officials.

Court Orders Arrest Of Ex-Customs Boss, Dikko

Mr Abdullahi Dikko

 

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the arrest of a former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu issued a bench warrant for Dikko’s arrest, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa who is the spokesperson for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said in a statement on Monday.

The judge noted that the order was necessary to ensure the former Customs boss appear in court to take his plea on the next adjourned date for his arraignment by the ICPC.

This followed an application brought by ICPC’s prosecution counsel, E. Shogunle, when another scheduled arraignment could not hold due to the absence of Dikko in court.

Justice Ojukwu granted the commission’s prayer over the continued failure of the former comptroller-general to show up in court for his arraignment.

While ordering Dikko’s arrest, she noted that his lawyer who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Solomon Akuma, had assured the court on the last adjourned date that his client was going to be present in court.

She wondered that Akuma only turned around to present a medical report claiming that his client was critically ill and on admission in London.

The judge, however, ruled that the execution of the warrant should be suspended if it was discovered that the accused was actually ill and receiving treatment in a London hospital.

If otherwise, she ordered the prosecution to arrest Dikko and produce him in court on March 16, which is the next adjourned date for arraignment.

The former Customs boss is facing multiple charges alongside two others – Garba Makarfi and Umar Husseini.

The charges border on allegedly defrauding the Managing Director of Cambial Limited, Mr Yemi Obadeyi, of a sum of N1.1 billion.

Sokoto Director Arraigned For Allegedly Issuing Fake Scholarship Letters

A file photo of Mohammad Yusuf.

 

 

A Deputy Director with the Sokoto State Scholarship Board (SSSB), Mohammad Yusuf, has been arraigned before the State High Court in Sokoto.

Yusuf was arraigned before Justice Muhammad Muhammad over alleged forgery on Thursday by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

He was charged with three counts for allegedly signing and issuing forged scholarship sponsorship letters to three students who used the same to secure entry visas to the United Kingdom from the British High Commission in Abuja.

The offence is said to be contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

ICPC’s prosecution counsel, Mashkur Salisu, told the court that the accused, who is serving as the Deputy Director in charge of International Student Matters of the SSSB, deliberately made a false statement to an officer of the British High Commission through the misleading documents.

According to him, the offence also contravenes Section 25(1)(b) and punishable under Section 25(1)(b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

One of the counts read, “That you Muhammad Buhari Yusuf on or about the month of September 2018 or thereabouts in Sokoto within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to cause damage to the public forged a scholarship sponsorship letter of the Sokoto State and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 348 and punishable under Section 349 of the Sokoto Penal Code of Law, 2019.”

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against him.

The defence counsels, Nuhu Aminu and Faruk Abdullahi, then prayed the court to grant bail to their client on liberal terms.

Counsel to ICPC did not object to the bail application.

He, however, urged that the court grant the bail with reasonable sureties that would ensure the attendance of the accused at his trial.

Justice Muhammad, thereafter, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100,000 and a surety who must be on Grade Level 15 in the Sokoto State Civil Service with landed property.

He also adjourned the case until March 12 for the commencement of hearing.

FIIRO Boss Did Not Complete PhD, ICPC Report Reveals

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has said that Mr Chima Igwe did not complete his doctorate programme.

Igwe, the acting Director-General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), has been engulfed in an alleged certificate scandal recently.

On its part, ICPC cleared the air in its report released on Sunday following an investigation into the claims that the FIIRO boss did not qualify to head the agency.

Workers at the agency had reportedly protested recently against the purported preferential treatment of Igwe, who was said to have gotten several promotions based on an attestation letter indicating he attended the Universite d’Abomey-Calavi, Benin Republic, and obtained a PhD.

He was appointed as the acting Director-General of FIIRO in May 2019, allegedly against the will of the governing board over the controversy surrounding the degree.

ICPC’s report read:

To clear the air and fulfil its pledge to make public its findings on the matter, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) hereby places on public record the outcome of its further investigations.

The Commission re-opened investigations into the status of Mr Igwe’s pursuit of a PhD degree on the 3rd of  December, 2019 upon the  discovery of certain gaps, occasioned by ambiguity in the letters from University D’Abomey Calavi, Republic of Benin, language differences and translation of documents, in the earlier investigation.

In the course of its further investigation, the ambiguity and confusing language translation issue again reared its head when the institution, in its letter to the Nigerian Mission in Benin dated 22nd January 2020, which stated as translated that ‘…Mr. Chima Carthney Igwe has completed his three-year doctoral programme”, yet the same correspondence further stated that Mr Igwe had not publicly defended his doctoral thesis and the institution was giving him a chance, at his request, to re-register and update his research results in the current 2019-2020 academic year.

It stands to reason, therefore, that if the PhD programme was concluded there would have been no need to request re-registration by Mr. Igwe.

Although it was confirmed that Mr. Igwe did the required three years for the programme from 1999 to 2002 and wrote a thesis, the Commission is firmly of the opinion that he cannot be said to have been awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree since he is yet to complete the process of defence of his thesis in the 18 years after he is said to have finished the course work.

By global standards, the successful defence of a thesis is a compulsory condition for the award of a PhD.

Therefore, in line with its avowed commitment to discharging its duties with professionalism and responsibility the Commission has since communicated its most recent findings and position to the relevant authorities for necessary action.

How ICPC Recovered Stolen Assets Worth N77billion In 2019

ICPC Logo

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it recovered N77.04 billion worth of stolen assets in 2019.

This was revealed in an infographic posted on the official Twitter handle of the anti-corruption agency over the weekend revealing the 2019 activities of the commission.

The infographic shows that the amount was recovered through operations, interim and final forfeitures on court orders on persons accused of corruption in 2019.

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“The Commission recovered assets worth N77.04billion; part of which were, N1.16billion cash in TSA; N32.038billion in lands and buildings; N41.98billion surplus on Personnel Cost, restrained from being spent by MDAs; N0.767billion from Constituency Projects tracking; N1.097billion, the value of completed projects on the return of contractors to site,” a post by the anti-graft agency revealed.

The spokesperson for the commission, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa also announced this figure during the presentation of 2019 Performance of the ICPC at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

She explained that out of the 1, 934 petitions received within the year under review only 580 were concluded.

Also, 25 convictions were secured out of the 83 cases filed in court.

The Commission according to her conducted 510 sensitisations, tracked 424 projects in 12 states, reviewed the Personnel and Capital expenditure of 201 MDAs and inaugurated 69 Anti-Corruption Units.

 

Below is the infographic representation showing ICPC’s performance in 2019:

Image

Correction Official Bags Four-Year Jail Term For Job Scam

 

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Gwagwalada, has sentenced an officer with the Kuje Correctional Centre, Ahmed Abdu, to a four-year jail term for engaging in employment scam.

Abdu was charged before the court in 2014 by the Independent Corrupt
Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for defrauding
one Adamu Abubakar of N250, 000.

While handing down the sentence, Justice Abubakar Kutigi said
it would deter other government officials that may want to take
advantage of the unemployment situation in the country to defraud
unsuspecting job seekers.

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He was also said to have collected the same amount from five other
persons to get them employed into any of Nigeria Immigration Service,
Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Nigerian Correctional
Service, and signed an undertaking to refund the money if he failed to
deliver.

ICPC, in a two-count, told the court that the convict used his
position as a public officer to hoodwink his victims into paying money
for jobs that did not exist.

Prior to the sentencing, Abdu who was not represented by a counsel,
pleaded with the court to be lenient with him, adding that he was a
first-time offender, as well as, the first child of his family with a very large number of dependants.

Counsel to ICPC, Ngozi Onwuka, in her submission, prayed the court to
direct Abdu to make restitution by refunding the monies he collected
from other victims to them.

Justice Kutigi, in his ruling, said that even though the court was
mindful of Abdu’s plea for leniency, he was only allowed to apply the
dictates of the extant laws upon which he was charged.

He said that the facts before the court had shown a consistent trait of
the convict using his position as a public officer to lure unsuspecting job seekers to pay for non-existent jobs.

He, therefore, sentenced him to four years imprisonment – two years on
each count – with no option of fine, and that the sentences would run
concurrently.

Alleged Corruption: ICPC Arraigns Ex-Court Registrar, Wife Over Litigant’s N80m

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned a former staff of the Judiciary, Mr Joseph Udoh, and his wife over allegations of money laundering.

Udoh, a former registrar with the Kaduna Division of the Federal High Court and his wife, Mrs Grace, were arraigned before Justice Mallong Hoommuck on 12 counts.

In a statement on Sunday, ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said Udoh was alleged to have misappropriated an amount exceeding N80 million from the money that had been deposited in the court by a litigant.

He reportedly issued cheques in the name of his wife who was also a staff of the court but in Abuja, and used the money to acquire properties in some major cities across the country.

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The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

Their counsel, S. M. Essienakak, informed the court that they had served the prosecution with a bail application and prayed the court to grant his clients bail on non-stringent conditions.

Essienakak gave assurance that the couple would not evade bail.

But counsel to ICPC, Shehu Yahaya, strongly opposed to the bail application on the grounds that the attitude of the defendants suggested that if they were granted bail, they might interfere with the processes.

He informed the court that four of the witnesses to be called by the prosecution were members of staff of the Kaduna Division of the court, where one of the defendants had served as a registrar.

After listening to arguments of counsel on both sides Justice Hoommuck granted the defendants bail in the sum of N10 million.

He also asked them to provide two sureties in like sum who must be members of the legal profession and must own properties in a Government Reserved Area (GRA) in Kaduna.

The judge, thereafter, adjourned the matter until January 28, 29, and 30, 2020, for the continuation of hearing.