FG orders probe of N2.6bn diverted school feeding fund

The Federal Government has ordered an investigation into the report by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) that the N2.67bn meal subsidy for 104 unity schools, was allegedly found in private accounts.

The Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, made the announcement in Abuja on Tuesday in a statement titled: ‘ICPC, Education Ministry to collaborate on Unity Schools’ investigation’.

The statement read in part, “Following the report of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission that the sum of N2.67bn released to the 104 Unity Colleges during the COVID-19 lockdown for meal subsidies found its way into individual accounts, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has ordered a full-scale investigation into the matter.

“In response to queries issued by the Federal Ministry of Education, the principals explained that payments on meal subsidies to Unity Colleges on the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System platform are designed to accommodate individual officers of those colleges who are officially recognised to receive such payments and disburse same to food vendors.

“This followed difficulties encountered by farmers, local food vendors and market women who do not have Tax Identification Numbers, PenCom and other requirements to access the payment platform.”

The statement added that the principals explained that payments made included debts owed food vendors before the COVID-19 lockdown.

It said, “The investigation is to establish the veracity of the claims to ensure that there is no diversion of public funds or misappropriation of same.

“To this end, the ministry in line with the minister’s directive is to collaborate effectively with officials of the ICPC to unearth the facts, as well as find a lasting solution to the payment system for meal subsidies that will ensure accountability and transparency.”

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