Group Petitions EFCC Over Alleged Diversion Of N1.5bn by FCT Administration

Group Petitions EFCC Over Alleged Diversion Of N1.5bn by FCT Administration
Chris Steven, Abuja

An anti-corruption coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commence investigation into the alleged diversion of N1.5 billion by the Federal Capital Territory Administration meant for compensation and resettlement of land owners affected by the Centenary village project.

In a petition signed by the group’s chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, and made available to journalist in Abuja on Monday, the coalition said the findings of the House of Representatives Committee on FCT has shown that the various projects does not reflect the amount of money already sunk into them.

The petition reads: “In its publication of 14th February, 2016, the Nation Newspapers reported that the House of Representatives Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) queried the diversion of N1.5bn meant for the compensation and resettlement of indigenes affected by the Centenary Village project.

“According to the report, at the FCT budget defense before the Hon. Herman Hembe –led Committee, the lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction with the inability of the Federal Capital Territory Administration to justify the huge disbursement of funds to one of the contractors handling some projects for the FCT administration.

“The Committee was further infuriated by the failure of the FCTA to furnish it with documents earlier requested, including Bill of Quantity for the residences of the Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and United Nations (UN) building. 

The Committee was concerned that level of work on the various projects does not reflect the amount of money already sunk into them.”

“Vice President’s residence contract was awarded at N7.1bn out of which N6.2bn was already paid while the rehabilitation of the UN building awarded at N5.1bn had N3.9bn already committed to it.

Also the residences of the presiding officers of the National Assembly have gulped N12bn out of N24bn initial contract sums.

The Committee also decried the outrageous figures given for the projects and expressed dismay that despite collecting so much, the contractors could still abandon the projects. “

CSNAC noted that the report further stated that there had been several protests by the original occupants of the Centenary village over unpaid compensation and the Committee thus emphasized the need for an investigation, due to complaints from contractors handling the projects.

It further stated that progress was stunted as a result of resistance and protests from indigenes over compensation, in addition to poor funding by the government.

“However, the FCDA’s Director (Engineering), Adamu Abu, said the initial agreement between the FCDA and the indigenes was to integrate them and not to pay them compensation in monetary form.”

The anti-graft network stated that, “From the foregoing, there are indications that the N1.5bn disbursed by the Federal Government for the compensation of the indigenes has been diverted by some corrupt officials.

Going by the statement credited to the Director, if the initial agreement between the administration and the indigenes was integration and not monetary compensation, then where is the N1.5bn earlier disbursed for that purpose?

“Just as rightly opined by the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee, “it is imperative for all agencies of government to realise that it is no longer business as usual”. In the face of harsh economic realities prevalent in the nation, government agencies should be made to realise that they either utilize the scare resources judiciously, or return any unused funds to the national treasury. The era of impunity and wanton looting of the treasury should no longer be condoned.

“CSNAC is therefore by this petition, calling on the Commission to conduct a thorough investigation into this economic crime and the prosecution of any officer found culpable. This will go a long way in ridding the society of corrupt individuals and rebuilding the Nigeria we all want to see and bequeath to future generations.”