ICPC uncovers N2.67bn school feeding funds in personal accounts – Newstrends
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ICPC uncovers N2.67bn school feeding funds in personal accounts

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Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman ICPC

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on Monday said it had discovered part of N2.67 billion school feeding funds meant for Federal Government colleges in personal accounts.The ICPC said the payment was made to the Federal colleges for school feeding during the lockdown “when the students were not in school.”
The Chairman, ICPC, Bolaji Owasanoye, who disclosed this, noted that the commission had commenced investigations into these findings.
He made the disclosure in a keynote address he delivered at the 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption with the theme, ‘Together Against Corruption and Launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy,’ in Abuja.

The chairman also revealed that the ICPC uncovered another N2.5bn, appropriated by an individual, now deceased, to himself and his cronies, in addition to a N16bn recovered from the Ministry of Agriculture, paid to individuals for non-official purposes.

Other assets that were recovered in the Ministry of Agric, according to him, include 18 buildings, 12 business premises, and 25 plots of land.

Owasanoye said, “We observed that transfers to sub-TSA were to prevent disbursement from being monitored.

“Nevertheless, we discovered payments to some federal colleges for school feeding in the sum of N2.67 billion during lockdown when the children were not in school, and some of the money ended up in personal accounts.

“We have commenced investigations into these findings.”

Under its 2020 constituency and executive projects tracking initiative, 722 projects with a threshold of N100 million were tracked across 16 states by the Commission, it was learnt.

According to the ICPC boss, a number of projects described as ongoing in the budget, were found to be new projects that should have been excluded in order to enable government complete existing ones.

He said the absence of the needs assessment resulted in projects recommended for communities, which did not require them being abandoned; projects sited in private houses on private land thus appropriating common asset to personal use, hence denying communities of the benefit; and absence of synergy between outgoing project sponsors and their successors.

The commission, he said, also discovered that uncompleted projects sponsored by legislators who did not return were abandoned to the loss of the community and the state.

The ICPC chairman said discoveries of misuse of funds were made in the education sector, where 78 MDAs were reviewed.

He listed them to include payment of bulk sums to individuals/staff accounts, including project funds; non-deductions/remittance of taxes and IGR; payments of unapproved allowances, bulk payment to microfinance banks, payment of arrears of salary and other allowances of previous years from 2020 budget, and payment of salary advance to staff.

Others were under-deduction of PAYE and payment of promotion arrears due to surplus in Personnel Cost; abuse and granting of cash advances above the approved threshold and irregular payment of allowances to principal officers.

He said, “We have restrained or recovered by administrative or court interim and final orders assets above N3 billion, facilitated the recovery of $173,000 by the whistleblower unit of FMFB&P from an erring oil company, retrained £160,000 in a UK-bank in an ongoing interim forfeiture.

“These figures exclude quantum of recoveries on return or contractors to site as a result of project tracking initiatives.”

“It should however be noted that some of these assets are subjected to ongoing cases and where suspects proved their cases, physical or liquid assets will be released in accordance with laid down laws, guidelines or court directives,” the chairman added.

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Drama as TUC pulls out of planned nationwide strike

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Drama as TUC pulls out of planned nationwide strike

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has decided not to participate in the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)’s proposed nationwide strike.

Tommy Etim, the TUC’s Vice President, stated this on Thursday.

Etim attributed the decision to cancel the planned strike on a “lack of decision making”.

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He underlined the importance of collective bargaining among labor unions before embarking on a demonstration.

Meanwhile, the NLC has rejected the advice of the Department of State Services (DSS) to shelve the nationwide protest scheduled for February 27 and 28.

I’m a statement on Wednesday evening, NLC president described the advice as unsolicited adding that it would proceed with the protest the hardship currently being faced by most Nigerians.

Drama as TUC pulls out of planned nationwide strike

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Parent visa: 5 countries that offer visas allowing family members reside with you

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Parent visa: 5 countries that offer visas allowing family members reside with you

Countries around the globe have implemented ‘Parent Visa’ programs as a means to reunite citizens or permanent residents with their parents who live abroad.

There are 5 countries which are known to have implemented this visa category.

Nairametrics learns that these visas vary widely in their requirements and privileges; some permit the visa holder to work, while others may require a financial investment into the host country.

About Parent Visa

The “Parent Visa,’ known by various names in different countries, acts as a bridge for families separated by borders, allowing them to live together.

For example, New Zealand’s approach to the ‘Parent Visa’ allows parents to reside in the country for up to six months at a stretch.

This exemplifies how conditions and stipulations for such visas can differ markedly from one nation to another, reflecting the diverse policies on family reunification.

This visa category underscores the importance many countries place on family unity as a fundamental value. By facilitating the process for parents to join their children, these nations acknowledge the significant emotional and social benefits of maintaining close family ties, despite the geographical distances that might exist.

The ‘Parent Visa’ thus serves not only as a legal mechanism for immigration but also as a testament to the universal value of family.

Here are the countries offering Parent Visas:

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Parent Resident Visa enables residents and citizens to sponsor their parents for residency.

The eligibility requires the New Zealand resident to have adequate income and commit to sponsoring their parents.

This visa grants the right to live, work, and study in New Zealand and allows the inclusion of partners in the residence application.

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The application process begins with submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI). If selected, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will issue an Invitation To Apply (ITA).

Only recipients of an ITA are eligible to proceed with the residence application, which must be filed within four months of receiving the ITA.

Australia 

Australia has established a Parent Visa category and introduced amendments to the Migration Bill to facilitate family reunification more efficiently.

To qualify, an applicant must have a child who is an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen, who has been living in Australia for at least two years before the application. The parent must also serve as a sponsor.

Initially, the Parent Visa provides temporary residency for two years, offering the opportunity to later transition to permanent residency.

Canada

Canada provides two kinds of visas for parents. The Super Visa a temporary solution, is available to the parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

This visa permits multiple entries over ten years, with each stay allowed to last up to two years.

Financial backing from the child or grandchild is a necessary condition.

Additionally, there is the Parents and Grandparents Program, which carries stricter requirements but grants the visa holder the ability to live and work in Canada.

United Kingdom 

In the United Kingdom, parents can obtain a visa if their child is under 18, a British citizen, or a permanent resident who has lived in the UK continuously for seven years. The visa is called a family visa.

A requirement for obtaining this visa is active involvement in the child’s upbringing, including participation in school activities and healthcare decisions. The visa is initially granted for 2.5 years, with the possibility of extension thereafter.

Germany

Germany facilitates family reunification via the Family Reunion Visa. This visa is accessible to parents of third-country nationals living in Germany, assuming these nationals are citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area, or the European Free Trade Association.

Family members and partners are eligible to apply for this visa, which allows them to live and work in Germany without the need for a separate work or residence permit.

Parent visa: 5 countries that offer visas allowing family members reside with you

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Reps stop 60% fee increase for Law School

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Reps stop 60% fee increase for Law School

The House of Representatives on Wednesday requested that the Council of Legal Education stop the recent 60% fee hike for the Nigerian Law School (NLS).

The House adopted a motion by the Minority Leader, Kingsley Chinda, read on his behalf by Ginger Owusibe, and urged its committees on Justice, Tertiary Education, and Services to examine solutions to the matter at hand and report back within two weeks.

Chinda described the NLS as a medium through which the Council of Legal Education regulates the legal education of persons seeking to become members of the legal profession, as provided for in Section 1(2) of the Legal Education (Consolidation, etc.) Act Cap. L10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

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The lawmaker was concerned that the Council of Legal Education approved a 60 per cent increase in fees from N296,000 to N476,000 for the 2023/2024 Bar Part II academic session. He noted that the 2023–2024 Bar Part II Academic session began in January 2024, with no time given to prospective students to raise the balance.

Chinda also lamented that Nigeria is facing a 27.33 per cent inflation rate, as reported by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which is projected by Trade Economics to rise to 30 per cent. He thus warned that unless immediate steps are taken to strike a balance between the Council’s need to provide quality services and the prospective students’ abilities to afford an increment, the country will see a high decrease in the number of NLS graduates, resulting to a decrease in the number of lawyers in the next Call to Bar Ceremony, thus leading to a higher national unemployment rate.

Reps stop 60% fee increase for Law School

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