Ebonyi gov suspends FADAMA III coordinator over alleged fraud
Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, has suspended FADAMA III coordinator, Dr Cletus Chukwuma Nwakpu, from office for alleged embezzlement and other acts against the oath of office.
Governor Umahi ordered for the suspension sequel to a report presented by the state Fiscal Responsibility Commission during a virtual meeting of the state Executive Council in Abakaliki.
According to Umahi, the summary of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission states that “Dr Cletus Nwakpu directed the opening of an account with the name of Ebonyi State FADAMA Production Cluster with Polaris Bank PLC, formerly called Sky Bank PLC and the project account has signatories and which money contributed by the farmers as captured in 2007 FADAMA Projects were deposited contrary to the financial regulation guiding the implementation of FADAMA project.
“That Dr Cletus Nwakpu did not release to the farmers the complete Agricultural inputs which they paid for and has failed to refund the payment so made.
“That Dr Cletus Nwakpu directed some parts of FADAMA office to collect about ninety million naira (#90,000,000) being for the beneficiary contribution levy made by the farmers in cash contrary to the requirement that every beneficiary contributes into individual farmers’ production group account.
“The total sum of twelve million six hundred and ten thousand only (#12,610,000.00), two million six hundred and ten thousand naira only(#2,610,000.00) paid by farmers for advisory services of the 2017 FADAMA Project was not compiled for the designated purpose.
“That the total sum of thirteen million six hundred and fifty thousand naira only(#13,650,000.00) approved by Dr Cletus Nwakpu for the payment to the two resourced persons for capacity building for the farmers was not actually spent for the purpose and there was no capacity building as claimed.
“That the regulation and guideline for the procurement of Agricultural inputs, selection of service provider, particularly for advisory service and capacity building for 2017-2019 FADAMA Project/Program were not compiled by Dr Cletus Nwakpu.
“That the sum of ninety-one thousand naira (#91,000) was paid for one unit of rice machine but was neither supplied nor the amount refunded to the farmers.
“That because of the failure of the said coordinating office to comply with the approval regulation and procedures, one hundred and eighty-two million naira (#182,000,000) being 50% beneficial contribution this year and another 90% International Development Agency(ICA) counterpart fund for the advisory service fee for 2017 was not paid to Ebonyi State Government by International Development Agency Fund.
“That Dr Cletus Nwakpu initiated the arrest of Mr Anthony Nwankwo, the Project Accountant on the said day that he (Anthony Nwankwo), was invited by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission to testify to the matter. This arrest followed an earlier arrest of Mr Cyprian Iziogo, the Project Procurement Officer”.
The governor, however, gave the Fiscal Responsibility Commission seven (7) days to recover all the monies from Dr Nwakpu. He charged the Commission to petition the EFCC to take over the matter; and also prosecute Nwakpu if he fails to remit the embezzled funds within the expiration of the seven days.
He then ordered the state Head of Service Dr Chamberlain Nwele to suspend and discipline Nwakpu as a civil servant through civil service rules.
Meanwhile, the governor also directed the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Kenneth Ugbala to replace Nwakpu on acting capacity until all activities of FADAMA are reviewed.