President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda to fight corruption tooth and nail intensifies after he got wind of series of information insinuating numerous corrupt practices by officials under the presidency.
Recently, Mr. President ordered that the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. Mohammed Umar Bello, be queried for abuse of office and embezzlement of billions while he was a Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The query letter signed by the head of service of the federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, on May 11, 2019, and addressed to Dr. Bello reads:
The attention of the President has been drawn to the acts of serious misconduct against you in your former post as the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on which he has given further directive.
Specifically, it was alleged that :
a.) In spite of the budgetary release of N98,405,763,678.68 in 2018 (which represents 99.44 of 2018 appropriation), you did not take necessary action to pay the eligible contractors which led to the Ministry having an outstanding contractual liability in the sum of N48,429,543,895.72;
b.) Under the leadership as the accounting officer, the Ministry utilised the entire 2019 first-quarter release of N7,737,208,135.18 to pay for the 2018 contracts that were fully funded in 2018 which constitutes virement without authority.
c.) as Accounting Officer, you oversaw the transaction for the purchase of a building for the use of the ministry at the sum of N7,044,746,264.06 without the conduct of the mandatory statutory structural and mechanical integrity tests; and prior approval of the FCDA Public Building Department, the building was eventually found to be an uncompleted carcass requiring billions of naira to complete and make safe for occupation.
d) Under your watch as the Accounting Officer of the Ministry, you procured seven deep drilling rigs for a borehole at an average cost of N300,000,000.00 without recourse to the Federal Executive Council.
e.) In April 2019, you gave out the seven rigs procured at over N1.3bn to some individuals under fraudulent agreements, without the approval of the minister and one of the rigs linked to you is yet to be returned despite several written reminders
f.) You misapplied the intervention funds approved for the purchase of strategic grains and the establishment of the rural grazing area settlements in violation of extant Financial Regulations; two of such misapplications are:
I. the use of N2,026,838,775.25 to pay contractors and executive programmes from the funds released for emergency procurement of strategic grains which is unrelated to the purpose of the funds.
II. The use of N3,527,300,419.06 for the payment of questionable contracts awarded under the 2018 appropriation from the rural grazing area settlement scheme which is not related to the purpose of the funds.
3. The above allegations are acts of serious misconduct as provided in PSR 030401 and 030402 and if proven, can lead to dismissal from service.
4. If you desire to submit any representations why disciplinary action which might include dismissal should not be taken against you, they should be submitted to me within 72 hours of receipt by you of this letter, failure to submit them within this time limit will be taken to mean that you do not wish to make any, and appropriate sanction will be invoked against you.
You will acknowledge receipt of this letter in the copy attached hereto.
Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan
Head of Service of the Federation
The Street Journal had earlier reported that the president ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services (DSS) to immediately commence a full investigation into the activities of three of the ministers serving under him after receiving petitions from civil society and members of the public.
It will also be recalled that Buhari invited the anti-corruption agencies to probe Food Vendors after the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouk, said the government is spending N4,200 per household as a monthly COVID-19 intervention for 3,131,971 households, totalling N13,154,278,200.
This is all happening even as the President is investigating circumstances that led to the removal of Alhaji Bolaji Miftah Are, a commissioner-nominee from Lagos State in the board of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) whose death was falsely speculated.