By Maureen Onochie
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has disclosed that it invited the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences commission (ICPC) to probe the alleged fraud in the N-Power programme.
N-Power is a scheme established by President Muhammadu Buhari to address the issues of youth unemployment and empowerment, and help increase social development.
Formerly under the office of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the the scheme was later moved to the humanitarian ministry.
According to reports, D’banj colluded with some government officials to introduce ghost beneficiaries into the payroll of the scheme.
The stipend paid to those beneficiaries was then paid to accounts that have now been allegedly linked to the pop star.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday, Permanent Secretary, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, acknowledged that the ministry reported persons involved in fraudulent activities to the anti-graft agency.
He said when it came to the notice of the ministry that there may have been sharp practices by some personnel of the Payment Service Provider (P’SP) involved in the payment processes of beneficiaries, the matter was immediately referred to ICPC for thorough investigation.
He said, “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 govenment MDA’s, 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 Federal Government’s continued commitment to the programme and the subsequent exit/off-boarding channels activated.”