Alleged Diversion Of School Feeding Funds: Minister Challenges ICPC, Dares Commission To Publish Names, Details of Accounts

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq

BEVERLY HILLS, September 29, (THEWILL) – The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq has challenged the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offence Commission, ICPC to publish the names of persons, federal colleges and school heads responsible for alleged diversion of N2.72b budgeted for School feeding during COVID-19 lockdown to private accounts.

The Minister also challenged the anti-corruption agency to publish details of the accounts where the missing funds were diverted.

In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Nneka Anibeze said the statement by ICPC was twisted and misinterpreted by mischief makers to mean an indictment of the Minister and Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

She explained 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.

According to the Minister, “the N2.5 billion which was reportedly misappropriated by a senior civil servant took place in a different ministry and not the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. She added that the recovered N16 billion worth of assets from the said ministry which was paid into an individual account for non-official purposes was “not the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development”.

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The Minister, therefore, described the report linking her to the diversion of the funds as “malicious and unfair” while calling on 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.

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The Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye at the 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption, on Monday at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, had said that “preliminary investigation by ICPC indicated that part of the N2.67billion budgeted for school feeding was diverted to private accounts.” He also claims that over N2.5 billion was misappropriated by a deceased senior civil servant in the Ministry of Agriculture.