ICPC arrests 5 govt officials for monumental fraud in Federal ministry of Agriculture


ICPC arrests 5 govt officials for monumental fraud in Federal ministry of Agriculture

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, has arrested five senior officials from the Department of Farm Inputs Support Services, FISS, at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The arrests, made during a sting operation on Thursday, April 4, 2024, around 9 a.m. at the Bank of Agriculture Building in the Central Business District of Garki, Abuja, have sent shockwaves through the ministry and its associated parastatals.

The operation, which was meticulously executed over the course of an hour on the building’s fifth floor, targeted individuals allegedly involved in the diversion of public funds designated for monitoring exercises and sensitisation programmes within the agricultural sector.

This misconduct has reportedly compromised the department’s ability to effectively monitor and evaluate the distribution and use of farm inputs.

Sources close to the investigation disclosed that while four officials were detained for five days before their release, the department’s director was released earlier due to health concerns.

The revelation of substantial sums in the personal bank accounts of the officials under scrutiny has raised alarm.

Investigations unveiled that one official had more than N200 million in their bank account, with an additional N100 million found in the account of one of their children.

Moreover, a search of one suspect’s residence in Abuja yielded over N250 million in cash.

Further inquiries by the ICPC have led to the discovery of suspicious financial activities, including an inflow exceeding N60 million within six months into one of the suspect’s accounts.

The commission’s efforts have also resulted in the seizure of several landed properties tied to the suspects, including a bakery and a herbal hospital, indicating a broader scope of asset accumulation potentially linked to the diverted funds.

Despite the significant findings and ongoing investigation, the ICPC has maintained a stance against publicizing details of ongoing cases.

ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, emphasised the commission’s policy against media trials, stating that details of the investigation would remain confidential until any potential court proceedings begin.

(The trend, Opera Mini)