Taraba State Accountant-General Arraigned For Alleged N1.56 Billion Fraud

Joel-J-Lenbang-BNThe Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the Taraba State Accountant- General,  Mr Joel Joseph Lenbang, over the diversion of  N1.56 billion Naira  state funds  at the Jalingo Federal High Court  .

The Accountant-General was arraigned on Wednesday before Justice Donatus Nwabueze Okorowo for defrauding the Taraba State Government.

Lenbang, was docked on an 8-count charge, including obtaining false pretence and abuse of office, offences contrary to and punishable under the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006

EFCC’s Head, Media and publicity, Wilson Uwujaren confirmed that  Mr. Lenbang allegedly disguised and withdrew monies for sundry payments on behalf of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as payment of Bank Commissions on Turn Over (COT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) which became a monthly affair making a total sum of N1,567,226,557.081 between January 2012 and December 2013.

Although Lenbang pleaded not guilty to the 8-count charge levied against him, the prosecuting counsel, Al Qasim Ja’afar, applied for a date to commence trial but the counsel to the accused filed a motion for bail.

The Judge, Okorowo adjourned the case till July 11, 2014 for hearing and remanded the accused in prison.

Mr Uwajuren said the EFCC swung into action following a petition received from a concerned Taraba State indigene, sometime in February 2014, alleging massive looting of Taraba state funds.

The petition, according to him, triggered investigation of the lifestyle of some of the officers mentioned in the petition and who were believed to be living above their means

Civil Defence Commandant Can’t Tell His Organisation’s Web Address

The Lagos State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) Obafaiye Shem has said that he has never visited his organisation’s website.

The Lagos State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) Obafaiye Shem

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Shem said the website opened by impostors to defraud unsuspecting job seekers would be automatically closed.

Asked to mention the NSCDC’s web address, Mr Shem said “I cannot categorically tell you one now.” Probed further to name the organisation’s website, the commandant said the address is: www.nscdc.

A Channels Television’s reporter checked the web address and noticed that it was incorrect. Further search on the internet showed that the correct web address for the Civil Defence Corp is www.nscdc.gov.ng

Employment Scam Can’t Happen In Civil Defence – Lagos Commandant

The Lagos State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) Obafaiye Shem has said that the incidence of recruitment scam does not happen in his organisation.

The Lagos State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) Obafaiye Shem

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Shem said he was surprised when the NSCDC’s name was mentioned among government agencies where employment racketeering take place.

“I can assure you that in Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp nothing like that is happening,” he said.

Lawmaker Says NASS Will Stop MDAs From Making Money Off Job Seekers

The Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Information and Communication Technology, Tajudeen Yusuf on Wednesday said the National Assembly is debating a bill that will stop government Ministries, Departments and agencies (MDAs) from using their recruitment portals to extort monies from job seekers.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Yusuf said while the Senate is dealing with the issue of employment racketeering, the House of Representatives will investigate the allegations that recruiters make money off job seekers through employment portals.

Expert Says Nigerian Education Curriculum Responsible For Unemployment

The Founder of the Centre for Applied Thinking, Josefu Adeyeni on Wednesday said the Nigerian Educational curriculum is structured in a way that graduates are prepared to be job seekers rather than job creators.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Adeyeni said the Nigerian educational system is using the 20th century curriculum to prepare 21st century people.

He said though the Bloom’s Taxonomy, which guided the curriculum structure in Nigeria education and was prepared in 1956, was revised in 2001, the country still use the old version which emphasised preparation for job after graduation.

In the video below, Mr Adeyeni recommends two steps to stemming the alarming rate of unemployment in Nigeria.

There Are About 2 million Ghost Workers On FG’s Payroll – Former Civil Service Director

A former director with the Federal Civil Service; Mr Gabriel Omohinmi has revealed that the recent investigation that discovered 45,000 ghost workers in the Federal Government’s payroll is just a drop in the system.

According to him, if a thorough investigation is conducted, “there are about 2-3million ghost workers in the civil service.”

“The audit that revealed the 45,000 ghost workers was only carried out on 251 Ministries and Department and Agencies (MDAs). We still have 321 MDAs that have not yet being touched” stated the former director.

Further explaining the rot in the civil service, Mr Omohinmi stated that the service operates a system whereby relatives of a family pack themselves onto the government’s payroll.

“It is disheartening. In some agencies, you will find a mother, a cousin, a nephew, a son, a daughter, all loaded in the same agency posted to various departments. If you have cause to complain about the person who brought them in, they go home and meet the person and the following morning, queries start flying all about….so you dare not protest.”

He further adds that this network frustrates any iota of activism of union members. “Once they see that you are active, they throw you to Siberia where one cannot operate.”

The former civil servant also revealed that the agency created to take complaints and petitions from workers; SERVICOM is bloated with people that are loyal to the system hence the anomaly is further enshrined without remorse.

“I don’t know how to describe what is happening in the federal service. It is terrible” he affirmed.

Other revelations made by Mr Omohinmi are that there are serving directors in the civil service that are richer than state governors with the kind of allocations they get in terms of property. The leakages are embarrassing”…… “a lot of unspent money is shared amongst themselves at the end of the year.”

He narrates how corruption is persevered in the current civil service by the weeding out of any staff that do not want to cooperate with the corrupt tradition.

“The time of public service is gone…..we need to get a new structure in place.”

PART 2

 

Return All Unspent Monies Or Go To Jail, ICPC Warns Ministers and Directors

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has ordered Ministries, Departments And Agencies (MDAs) to return all unspent monies on personnel votes to the Sub-Treasury of the Federation not later than Monday, December 31, 2012, or face the law.

The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Ekpo Nta

A statement by the Commission’s chairman, Ekpo Nta, also ordered the MDAs to submit the receipt and expenditure profiles of their personnel cost to the commission not later than January 31, 2013, using a template approved by the commission.

To underscore the seriousness his commission attaches to the directives, the ICPC chairman said “letters have been sent to the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies for strict compliance and to note that any infraction will be prosecuted.”

Mr Nta also announced that the “Commission will commence verification for the returns made to the Sub-Treasury by February, 2013.”

Below is the full text of Mr Nta’s statement:

TREATMENT OF UNSPENT BALANCES OF 2012 PERSONNEL VOTES

The Commission has carried out a pilot System Study and Review on the utilization of the 2011 Personnel Vote of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Observable lapses were highlighted and discussed with the various MDAs.

The Commission will be carrying out another System Study and Review of the 2012 Personnel Vote to ensure total compliance with Section 16 of the Finance (Control and Management) Act, LFN, 1990 and the Financial Regulations regarding unspent balances in line with the Accountant-General of Nigeria’s Circular No. TRY/A5 & B5/2011 of 20th November, 2012.

All MDAs are requested to submit the Receipt and Expenditure profiles of their Personnel Cost to reach the Commission not later than January 31, 2013 using the approved template. For avoidance of doubt, Personnel Vote is for the payment of salaries and allowances for Government employees only. “All unspent balances should be returned to the Sub-Treasury of the Federation by 31st December, 2012.

The Commission will commence verification of the returns made to the Sub-Treasury by February, 2013. Letters have been sent to the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies for strict compliance and to note that any infraction will be prosecuted.

Budget implementation: Senate demands details of funds released to MDAs for 2012

The controversy over the implementation of the 2012 budget seems not settled yet, as the Chairman Senate Committee on Rules and business, Senator Ita Enang, has accused the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) of failing to present to the national assembly details of the funds released to Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs).

Briefing journalists in Abuja, on Friday, Senator Enang stated the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) is required by law in the Appropriation Act, to present to the national assembly details of the funds released to government ministries, agencies and departments.

However, the Senator noted that the AGF has failed to do this, and in essence giving rise to the controversy of the performance of the budget.

According to him, the executive has thereby breached provisions of the 2012 Appropriation Act.

House expresses concern over 2012 Budget

Members of the House of Representatives have restated their concerns over the poor implementation of the 2012 budget.

The lawmakers, who had expressed their displeasure over the poor implementation of the budget in July, once again debated the issue in plenary.

The debate was however cut short as the lawmakers resolved that it may be richer in content if conducted after committees have carried out an extensive oversight of all the MDAs (Ministries Departments and Agencies).

It’s been over eight weeks since the House of Representatives expressed its displeasure at what they termed the ‘‘low implementation of the 2012 Budget”.

They challenged the executive to ensure the level of implementation improves before they return from their recess, adding that this debate is to gauge how the executive complied with their recommendation.


The House however resolved that in the first week of October, committees will embark on a week-long oversight to verify, once and for all, the actual level of implementation of the 2012 budget.

2012 Budget: Okonjo-Iweala confirms that 41 percent has been implemented

The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has confirmed that 41.3% of the 2012 capital budget has been implemented so far and that the implementation of the 2012 budget began in April after it was passed into law.

The Minister made this known while speaking at an interactive meeting with members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation on Thursday where she stated that President Goodluck Jonathan had been leading the drive for higher budget performance.

According to her, the sum of N1.3 trillion was appropriated for capital expenditure in the 2012 budget and out of this; the ministry has released N404 billion with N324 billion cash backed.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala also stated that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) have used 56% of the funds cash backed for capital expenditure leaving 44% of the funds unused.

“So far, 56 per cent of the capital budget had been utilised while 44 per cent was still outstanding.”

“There is more room for utilisation. 56 per cent of the funds that has been released, has been used, meaning 44 per cent is still available for implementation” she said.

The Minister explained that, “if you measure what’s been implemented over the entire budget you get 13.7%. But because we’re talking about 4months, the implementation is 41%”

“The Federal Ministry of Finance is not holding back any budgeted funds. The CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) can confirm that” she added, denying that there has been selection of projects.

The ministry had been providing funds to Ministries, Departments and Agencies “in bulk” she said.

“We release resources to MDAs in bulk. There is no discrimination. We don’t have a selective approach” she added.

She added that the ministry has so far released N1.6 trillion for recurrent expenditure.

The Minister claimed she was misquoted by the media and that the figures being thrown around on the level of budget implementation are not true.

Constituency Projects

Ahead of the meeting, the Senators had been displeased at remarks purported to have been made by the Minister blaming the tardy fund releases on Constituency Projects added into the appropriation act by the legislators.

On her alleged statements on constituency projects, Dr Okonjo-Iweala clarified her position saying it is not true that the president has told ministries not to implement constituency projects.

According to her, ministries have already launched the procurement process for the constituency projects.

She assured that the execution of the budget would be kept within January-December, adding that the current practice of extending it to March of the following year should be discontinued.

She also promised that the 2013 budget would be submitted to the National Assembly by September this year.