House orders ICPC to refund N924m in seven days

By David Odama, Abuja

The House of Representatives has directed the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) to refund N924million to the Ministry of Environment within a week.

The money which was meant for Great Green Wall project was fraudulently transferred to the anti-graft agency warehousing it in its special recovery account.

Nigeria House of Assembly court

Nigeria House of Assembly court

Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Uche Ekwunife, while commending the agency for a good job, however, reminded it that the money was meant for a project for Nigerians’ benefit, adding that  such monies should not be retained unduly, having been recovered.

Speaking at an investigative hearing organised by the committee on Friday, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nana Fatima Mede, told the committee how the almost N925million was fraudulently transferred from the Great Green Wall project account with the First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

According to her, the bank alerted her of the illegal transfer on November 28, 2014 and she immediately informed the ICPC.

The intervention of the ICPC, according to her, led to the stoppage of the fraudulent transfer out of which N400million could not be transferred by the scammers.

On his part, ICPC Chairman, Ekpo Nta, said his commission swung into action after it was informed and that as at last week, the entire money has been recovered.

He also disclosed that the major suspect behind the scam, Adeolu Adeyanju, the chief executive officer of Detwinx Global Services Ltd, who fled the country, after the deal failed, was later arrested when he sneaked into the country.

He said, though, investigation into the matter is still ongoing because the agency was interested in how the operation was successfully carried out, Adeyanju and some bank workers have been charged to court.

Responding, Committee Chairman, Ekwunife, commended the Permanent Secretary for her quick reaction and the ICPC for its effectiveness.

She, however, said everyone involved in the scam must be made to face the law, adding, “we want punishment for all those indicted, including bank workers, civil servants and everyone involved.

“I think there is a cabal behind crimes like this and it is our duty to discourage them. We cannot continue to condone this kind of attitude in our banks.”

Mandating the chief executive of FCMB to appear before it, the committee ordered the ICPC to return the recovered fund to the ministry within a week.

She said that the money was meant for a project and that Nigerians should not be denied the benefits of, having been prevented from being lost to fraudsters.

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