Sunday, June 26, 2011
ICPC Uncovers Fraud Inministries, FCT, PHCN,Customs!
Related Offences Commission has uncovered
massive fraud valued at over N16.85bn in federal
ministries, departments and agencies following a
systemic review in their activities, SUNDAY PUNCH
findings have shown.
The commission noted that while it exposed
N1.85bn in MDAs, an additional N15bn fraud was
allegedly uncovered in the Nigeria Customs and
A copy of the report exclusively obtained by our
correspondent on Saturday showed that the
MDAs' evaluation, which harped on capital project
verification, was prepared this June by the ICPC.
The examination, meant to encourage probity
and adherence to due process, the anti-graft
agency added, revealed large-scale financial
inconsistencies and questionable deals in the
Among MDAs indicted in the six-page report are
the Federal Ministry of Transport, Nigeria Ports
Authority, Power Holding Company of Nigeria,
Federal Ministry of Science and Technology,
Petroleum Equalisation Fund, Federal Capital
Territory, Federal Medical Centres in Ebute Meta,
Lagos, Asaba and Owo; National Human Rights
Commission and the Energy Commission.
For instance, the investigation into the affairs of
the PHCN showed that many approved projects,
which were paid for by the organisation, could
not be found for verification.
The report added that money paid for various
abandoned projects, as well as duplicated
projects could not be accounted for.
PHCN: Funds not accounted for
Part of the ICPC report reads, "The PHCN blames
the inability of the Central Bank of Nigeria to
speedily guarantee the safety of the funds of the
foreign firms involved in the projects as well as
the problems of delays in clearance at the ports
by the Customs and the Standard Organisation of
"We found the same contract in one location
awarded to two different companies, such as the
procurement and installation of power
transformer at Plot 14, Phase 1 Layout. The
contract for the 500KVA transformer was
awarded to Jianem Eng. Company Ltd. and
Danmarke Trading Company Ltd. at
"The committee also discovered an abandoned
pilot scheme for geographical information system
in Benin, Edo State, where out of an appropriation
of N100m for the project, N99,780,388 had been
paid. Similar projects are also sited in Ibadan and
Lagos and are said to have been completed, but
there is no guarantee and therefore requires
verification," the report noted.
Again, the ICPC said its investigation revealed that
there had been provision for the procurement of
pre-payment and billing programme meters for
PHCN transmission offices in Enugu, Ibadan,
Kaduna, Kano, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Yola and
Benin, valued at N1.5bn; but"reports have it that
these pre-meters are not readily available in these
Contract inflation, duplication
On the Federal Capital Territory too, the report
said there was gross inflation of contracts for the
Millennium Development Goals projects in the
It noted that the contract for an eight-bedroom
storey building was awarded in different locations
in the FCT at different contract prices of N27.3m,
N29.4m, N30m, N32m and N47.6m .
The ICPC added that the FCT could not account
for the N47,710,960.50 budgeted for the
construction of 16 cluster classrooms with
drainage and landscaping; and another
N7,308,450 for the construction of a fence and
Curiously, the ICPC said, there was no evidence
the money was returned to the treasury.
FCT: Insider 'trading'
The anti-graft agency noted that the issue of
insider trading was still a source of concern in the
affairs of the FCT.
The report added, "Two or three companies were
discovered to be the beneficiaries of almost all the
contracts of the FCT in 2009.
"For example, Aco Furniture Ltd alone was, in
2009, awarded various contracts for the
construction of an eight-bedroom storey building;
and supply of three sets of teachers' furniture to
Junior Secondary School, Rubochi.
"The company also won four other contracts for
the supply of eight sets of classroom chairs and
other contracts for the supply of 10 sets of
primary school classroom furniture.
"The second contractor, M/S Simag Nig Ltd, was
awarded six different contracts for the supply of
40 and 60 leaves exercise books; six sets of
classroom furniture; provision of books for FCT
secondary schools, construction of central store/
exam processing/teachers' development office
and construction of zonal education office at
Transport Ministry: Fund diversion
At the Federal Ministry of Transport, the ICPC said
its verification of capital projects revealed"the
payment of a whopping sum of N26m to some
members of staff of the ministry for monitoring
and evaluation of the contract of National
Transport Survey and projection, out of a total
contract sum of N174.81m."
The ICPC also said it discovered at the ministry
that 46 contractors who had executed various
contracts between 2008 and 2009 were yet-to-be
paid. The commission, however, said the
procurement officer had written and undertaken
to pay them in June 2011.
The report noted that it was strange that the
ministry had not yet paid, even when provision
for it was made in the 2008/2009 budget.
"It is possible that the money had been diverted
since some of the contracts were from overhead,"
the report stated.
NPA: Payment for unapproved projects
At the Nigerian Ports Authority, the ICPC
discovered the payment of mobilisation fees for
projects that were yet-to-be approved because of
They are payment of 15 per cent mobilisation or
N12,014,100 for the supply of four Mercedes
Benz fire water tankers, out of the contract sum
The report noted that the request for variation
was still awaiting approval.
The same goes for the supply of two Mercedes
Benz fire-fighting trucks at N189m. Mobilisation of
N28.3m had been paid.
"We note the payment of 15 per cent mobilisation
fee of N3,540,000 for the supply of 200 chemical
protection suits, out of the total contract sum of
N25.5m for the supply of the equipment that was
yet to be ascertained."
PEF: Excess expenditure
The ICPC said it was highly suspicious of insider
trading at the Petroleum Equalisation Fund,
where only two companies, Oma Hosting Ltd and
JMG Ltd were the only two beneficiaries of all the
contract awards in 2009 for the supply of all
generators to depots nationwide.
"Clarification is yet to be established as to the
source of N25m excess expenditure, where N30m
was budgeted to the National Emergency
Management Agency for the supply of RIV, but
N55m was actually expended," the ICPC said.
ICPC spokesman, Mr. Folu Olamiti, said the review
of the agencies was a system of checks and
balances to ensure that the appropriate measures
were taken in government transactions.
He said the objective of review was to ensure
probity through control and check on abuse of
the process and excesses in government
Olamiti said the aim of the system review was to
check corruption, by putting the ministries and
agencies on their toes.
Meanwhile, some of the indicted agencies have
declined comments on the investigation, while
those who spoke said they were not aware that
the ICPC had carried out an investigation into
For example, spokespersons of the Energy
Commission and the Ministry of Transport said
they were not aware of any investigation or
review by the ICPC or the release of any report on
Also, the PHCN Public Relations Officer, Mrs.
Efurun Igbo, said she was not aware that the ICPC
had carried out any investigation.
She said, "The fact that they have not arrested
anybody shows that there is nothing wrong here.
If it's the ICPC that I know and we read about in
the papers, if they suspect something, they will
Chief Press Secretary to the FCT, Mohammed
Sule, who requested details of the report in order
to comment, also refused to respond to further
enquiries after he was provided with specific
In a related development, the review came a
week after operatives of the commission had
grilled five officials of the Nigeria Customs and
Excise for the theft of 10 containers from the
The containers had equipment for power projects
valued at N15bn.
The containers, which had been lying at the ports
for many months, were diverted to the Ikorodu
terminal and finally evacuated with the aid of
It was learnt that the five Customs officers, led by
an assistant comptroller (names withheld), moved
the containers, which they thought had been
abandoned, out of the Ikorodu terminal with
SUNDAY PUNCH learnt the fraud was exposed
when an internal investigative panel was set up
by the Customs to investigate the disappearance
of the containers from the ports.
Our correspondent further gathered that the
Presidency had directed that the case be
transferred to the ICPC for investigation.
Olamiti also confirmed that five Customs officers
had been grilled by the anti-graft agency over the