FG confirms arrest by ICPC over diversion of N-Power fund
• suspects to be arraigned soon ― Permanent Secretary
Federal Government on Wednesday confirmed the arrest of some Nigerians allegedly linked with the diversion of N-Power fund.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo who gave the hint during a press briefing on the N-Power update, held in Abuja, assured that the culprits identified by Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) will be arraigned before the Court soon.
Dr. Sani-Gwarzo who described the N-Power Programme as a very successful component of the National Social Investment Programmme put in place by the Federal Government, reiterated the Ministry’s resolve towards ensuring accountability and transparency in the implementation of the scheme.
He observed that “this is a positive step taken by the Ministry to ensure that there is no disruption in the programme and to ensure that all hands are on deck to ensure that anybody who tries to breach the system is apprehended.
“I’m happy to say that ICPC has done a commendable job, they have helped us to identify some of the culprits and they are investigating and will soon take them to Court.
“I received the progress report today from ICPC and we are working with them and they have assured us that they have isolated and curtailed any of the irregularities and therefore the programme should continue undisrupted,” he noted.
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He maintained that the Ministry has “continued to deliver the desired impact through the onboarding 1.5 million unemployed Nigerian youth (mostly Graduates), providing capacity building, targeted tenured employment and structured off-boarding unto various career paths; thereby serving as a catalyst conveyor system for unemployed/under-employed Nigerian youth to successful career paths and a stimulus for the Nigerian economy.
“The Ministry’s attention has been brought to recent publications regarding ongoing investigations in relation to fraud allegations in the Programme.
“We wish to here state as follows, that the Ministry has deployed a well-rounded mechanism for selection of eligible beneficiaries from across the country and this has been in place since the inception of the program.
“Working with our Service Provider, Program Beneficiaries are onboarded, trained, and deployed to pre-selected places of primary assignment.
“When it came to our notice that there may have been sharp practices by some personnel of the Payment Service Provider (PSP) involved in the payment processes of beneficiaries, the matter was immediately referred to ICPC for a thorough investigation.
“We are aware that certain persons have consequently been invited for interrogation as part of the ongoing investigations.
“In the meantime, we have carried out thorough reinforcement of our systems to eliminate all anomalies and prevent similar occurrences in the future.
“To this end, we are in close collaboration with ICPC to support the successful determination of the investigation.
“The public may wish to note that in a bid to ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of N-Power and other National Social Investment Programmes, namely the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP)and the Conditional Cash Transfer(CCT), the Ministry has over time involved other government MDAs, Security Agencies and Civil Society Organizations in monitoring and compliance checks across the 36 states of the country and the FCT.
“We want to assure all N-Power beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s continued commitment to the programme and the subsequent exit/off-boarding channels activated.
“All program beneficiaries should therefore continue to apply themselves to their utmost at their places of primary assignment. All monthly stipends will continue to be paid in line with program expectations.
“We call on members of the public to come forward with information on any irregularities noticed in the implementation of the National Social Investment programmne through the following channels,” he urged.