TUE, 29 SEPT, 2020-theGBJournal- The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development on Tuesday distanced itself from the ‘’diverted N2.67 billion school feeding funds’’ scam exposed Monday by the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye.
Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said in a statement signed by the SA Media, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, that the Federal Government Colleges school feeding in question is different from the Home Grown School Feeding which is one of its Social Investment Programmes. ‘’It 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 Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) today, and in reaction to the ICPC revelations, directed a query to the Minister, demanding that she publishes details and names of suspects in the scam. But the Minister pushed back and instead called 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.
‘’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,’’ the Minister said.
She also noted that the recovered N16 billion worth of assets by the ICPC was not recovered from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
‘’The statement by ICPC was twisted and misinterpreted by mischief makers and directed at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.’’
The report of the missing funds was revealed after a presentation by the Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye at the 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.
According to the report, “preliminary investigation had indicated that part of the N2.67billion was diverted to private accounts. It also revealed 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”.
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development described those casting aspersions on the Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq as malicious and unfair and called on the general public to disregard the false reports being linked to the ministry ‘’as it is not in anyway involved in the Federal Government Colleges School Feeding.’’