Senior officials in the Department of Farm Inputs Supports Services (FISS) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, have been arrested by operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) over alleged diversion of funds. The officers, about five of them, were said to have been arrested during a sting operation that lasted for about one hour in their office in Abuja.
Reports have it that the ICPC detained four of the officials for five days before they were later left off the hook while a director among them was said to have been released on health grounds. The arrest was said to have created tension among the staff of FISS and other parastatals in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. A source said the investigation was connected with the alleged diversion of funds meant for monitoring exercise and sensitisation programmes that had hampered the monitoring and evaluation of farm inputs. During investigations, over N200 million was alleged to have been found in the bank account of one of the officials being grilled, while over N100m was found in the bank account of one of his children.
FarmingFarmersFarms gathered that investigations by the ICPC detectives revealed that an inflow of over N60m was recorded in six months into the bank account of one of the suspects while the anti-graft agency also seized landed properties, including a bakery and one herbal hospital. The spokesperson for ICPC, Azuka Ogugua, said investigations were still on. “We don’t give updates on our cases to journalists. We don’t do media trials, that was why I didn’t respond (to enquiries). How do you now expect me to start disclosing to you? It doesn’t make sense. I can’t tell you; that is wrong, it’s unethical. How can I be telling you the outcome of our investigation? “When the case goes to court, it will be in the public domain. There is nothing I can discuss, it will be tantamount to media trial”, Ogugua stated further.