Ngige, Keyamo’s Labour Ministry paid N497 million for non-existent job centres – report

THE Federal Ministry of Labour and Empowerment under Chris Ngige and Festus Keyamo paid N497 million for the renovation of non-existent job centres, an audit report by the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) obtained by The ICIR revealed.

Ngige headed the ministry during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, from 2015 to 2023, and Keyamo served as minister of state from 2019 to 2023.

According to the audit report, which focused on expenditures of Nigerian ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs) for 2020, N497.3 million (N497, 298, 702) was paid for the renovation of job centres in some states between 2018 and 2020 but the ministry could not provide evidence such as job completion certificates indicating the execution of the project during the audit.

“The sum of N261,502,802.54 (Two hundred and twenty-one million, five hundred and two thousand, eight hundred and two naira, fifty four kobo) was paid in 2018 to fifty-four (54) contractors for the renovation of job centres in Geo-Political Zones of the Federation,” the audit report stated.

The report added that the sum of N209.3 million (N209,267,695.26) was also paid in 2019 to thirty-two (32) contractors for the renovation of job centres across the Federation.






     

     

    According to the report, N26.5 million(N26,528,204.59) was also paid in 2020 to four (4) contractors for the renovation of Akwa-Ibom, Kaduna, Kano and Sokoto job centres.

    However, records such as the Schedule of Assets, Fixed Asset Register and photographs to support the existence of the job were not produced for the audit according to the audit report.

    Responding to the allegations, the ministry said the payments for the projects are not fictitious, and prerequisite documents were made available before payments for the projects were effected.

    “The auditor can undertake a physical inspection of the sites with the relevant department to ascertain the true position of the centres,” the ministry concluded.

    Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in society. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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