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Thursday, November 12, 2015

$4.5b Tax Holidays, N1.9billion Ebola Fund, $2billion arms deal, N29billion Fake Contracts & Others, Sacked Federal Perm Secs May Face Trial

Barely 24 hours after they were retired, five of the affected 17 federal permanent secretaries may face trial for alleged corruption.

One of those slated for trial has been interrogated by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission(ICPC)

Another, who is rated as brilliant, allegedly indulged in using public funds for exotic vehicles,  foreign trips and outrageous hotel bills.

It was also learnt that two of those involved were  linked to alleged bribery scandals.

The retired Perm Secs include Aliyu  Ismaila; Godknows Igali; Alhaji Baba Farouk; Abdulkadir Musa; Linus Awute; Fatima Bamidele; Obinna John Chukwu; Ezekiel Oyemomi; Anasthesia Nwaobia; Tunji Olaopa; George A. Ossi ; Mike John Nwabiala; Mohammed Bashar and Abdullahi Yola.

The fate of four others was unknown yesterday as they were either not given retirement letters or put on the list of those deployed.

The floating permanent secretaries are: Odusote Ibukun; Henry Akpan, Nkechi Ejele and Dr. James Obiagwu.

According to investigation, the Presidency was disturbed by security reports that many permanent secretaries embezzled public funds with impunity and were living above their means.

The intelligence survey also revealed massive acquisition of property by permanent secretaries and top directors in the civil service.

It was gathered that the security reports were confirmed by the disclosures in some books by Governor Nasir El-Rufai and a former Permanent Secretary, Dr. Goke Adegoroye.

Some of the allegations being probed include acquisition of choice properties; $4.5b tax holidays;   N1.9billion Ebola Fund(including N900million for isolation tents); $2billion arms deal; N29billion fictitious contracts; N275.5million budget for 2015 poll monitoring; the mismanagement of subsidy funds; questionable waivers and N2.4 billion fertiliser scam.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “About five of the retired permanent secretaries might face trial based on discreet investigation by some security agencies on how they mismanaged their ministries.

“Some of these permanent secretaries appeared before one or two anti-graft agencies for questioning. They are already aware of their pending trial.

“Some of these senior civil servants have been pleading for soft landing but the government may not listen to them.”

Asked to be specific on those affected, the source added: “The anti-graft agencies will soon take charge.”

A former Permanent Secretary in the FCT, Adegoroye said compared to the success recorded in public service reform between 2004 and 2007, “there is now [in 2014] more rot to be cleared within the civil service system” .

El-Rufai said: “This notion of let’s protect our own, no matter how bad they are, is the problem of the public service, where the federal service is now, is more troubling, because only those that are in finance, supply, and so on get to be permanent secretaries these days. The proportion of those in the lines where there is money that become Permanent Secretaries is a major indictment on the federal public service.”

On the fate of the floating perm secs, a source said: “I think there was a little error in the compilation of the list of those retired. While the Presidency put the figure at 17, a statement by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation said it was 16.

“When the list of deployment was released, these permanent secretaries were neither among those retired nor assigned.

“The Head of Service is making necessary clarifications from the Presidency.”


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