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The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq has challenged the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offenses Commission, ICPC to publish the names of persons, federal colleges and school heads responsible for the alleged diversion of ₦2.72b budgeted for School feeding during COVID-19 lockdown to private accounts.
The Minister also challenged the anti-corruption agency to also publish details of the accounts where the missing funds were diverted.
The Minister said this in a statement issued by her special adviser on media, Nneka Anibeze in reaction to 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.
Owasanoye had at the summit said preliminary investigation by ICPC had indicated that part of the ₦2.67billion budgeted for school feeding was diverted to private accounts.
He also claim that over ₦2.5 billion was misappropriated by a senior civil servant (name withheld) in the ministry of agriculture and now deceased, for himself and cronies.
But the Minister said the statement by ICPC was twisted and misinterpreted by mischief makers to mean an indictment of the Minister and Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
But she noted that the Federal Government Colleges School feeding which the ICPC Chairman spoke about at the Summit is different from the Home Grown School Feeding which is one of the Social Investment Programmes under the supervision of the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry.
She further noted ‘That the School Feeding under scrutiny is feeding of students in Federal Government Colleges across the country and 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.’
‘That the over ₦2.5 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.’
‘That the ICPC recovered ₦16 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.
The Minister therefore described the report linking her to the diversion of the funds as “malicious and unfair” while calling o’n 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 Ministry also asked the general public to disregard the false reports being linked to the ministry as it is not in any way involved in the Federal Government Colleges School Feeding.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK