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Humanitarian Minister, Farouq challenges ICPC to publish details of persons involved in N2.7b school feeding fund fraud

SADIYA Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has challenged the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) to publish the details of persons involved in the alleged diversion of the N2.72 billion school feeding programme.

Farouq said this in a statement signed by Nneka Ikem Anibeze, her Special Assistant on Media in reaction to a comment made by the ICPC chairman, Bolaji Owasanoye.

Owasanoye, the ICPC Chairman had disclosed on Monday at the 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that preliminary investigation by the Commission had indicated that part of the N2.67billion was diverted to private accounts.

He added that over N2.5 billion was misappropriated by a senior civil servant (name withheld) in the ministry of agriculture and now deceased, for himself and cronies.

However, the Minister described those casting aspesions on her as malicious and unfair, calling on the ICPC to publish the names of persons, Federal Colleges and school heads whose names have been found to be associated with the missing funds and also freeze the accounts where the said funds were diverted.

According to her, the Federal Government Colleges school feeding in question was different from the Home Grown School Feeding which was one of her Ministry’s Social Investment Programmes.

She further explained that the school feeding under scrutiny is feeding of students in Federal Government Colleges across the country which is not under the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs which only oversees Home Grown School Feeding for children in Primaries 1-3 in select public schools across the country.

The Minister insisted that the ICPC Chairman was misquoted by those she called mischief makers and directed reports at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

“The statement by ICPC was twisted and misinterpreted by mischief makers and directed at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs,” Farouq said.

While urging members of the public to disregard the false reports being linked to the ministry, she reiterated that the over N2.5 billion which was reportedly misappropriated by a senior civil servant (name withheld) took place in a different ministry and not the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

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“That the ICPC recovered N16 billion worth of assets from the said ministry which was paid into an individual account for non-official purposes and not the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,” she said.

However, Azuka Ogugua, the ICPC spokesperson during a telephone conversation with The ICIR on Tuesday said that the ICPC chairman was misquoted by media reports.

Ogugua said Owasanoye never mentioned the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs during his statement at the Presidential Villa.

“The Chairman did not mention the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, he only talked about the Federal Government Colleges school feeding programme, I don’t know where the media got their reports from,” she said.

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