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Perm Sec Who Allegedly Blew N48 Billion Queried

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The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. Mohammed Umar Bello, has been queried by the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan for allegedly brining a N48 billion liability through his actions while he served as permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

Dr. Yemi-Esan issued the query on May 11, 2020 supposedly on the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Dr. Bello was said to have committed several budgetary infractions in the 2018 budget of the Ministry of Agriculture including buying an uncompleted building for the ministry at N7 billion and forcing the Federal Government to use billions more to complete what was described as a carcass of a building.

The query alleged that despite releasing 99% of the budget of the ministry’s N98 billion 2018 budget that the permanent secretary still left the Federal Government with a liability of N48 billion from the operation of the budget.

The query with ref. No. HCSF/PSO/AOD/P.030/5B with title: “Allegations of acts of serious misconduct in your former post of permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: Preliminary letter/query”.

Part of the query reads:“The attention of Mr President has been drawn to the acts of serious misconduct against you in your former post as the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on which he has given further directive.

“Specifically, it was alleged that: (a) in spite of the budgetary release of the N98,405,763,678.68 in 2018 (which represents 99.44 of 2018 appropriation), you did not take necessary action to pay the eligible contractors which led to the ministry having an outstanding contractual liability in the sum of N48.429,543,895.722.

“Under your leadership as the accounting officer, the ministry utilised the entire 2019 first quarter release of N7,737,208, 135.18 to pay for the 2018 contracts that were fully funded in 2018 which constitutes virement without authority:

“As accounting officer, you oversaw a transaction for the purchase of a building for the use of the ministry at the sum of N7,044,746,264.06 without the conduct of the mandatory statutory structural and mechanical integrity tests: and prior approval of the FCDA Public Building Department: the building was eventually found to be an uncompleted carcass requiring billions of naira to complete and make safe for occupation;

“Under your watch as the accounting officer, the ministry procured seven deep drilling rigs for borehole at an average cost of N300,000,000. 00 without recourse to the Federal Executive Council;

“(e) and in April, 2019, you gave out the seven rigs procured at over NI ..3 billion to some individuals under fraudulent arrangements, without the approval of the minister; and one of the rigs linked to you is yet to be returned despite several written reminders; and

“ You misapplied the intervention funds approved for the purchase of strategic grains and the establishment of the Rural Grazing Area Settlements in violation of extent Financial Regulations; two of such misapplications are:

“ The use of N2.026,838,775.25 to pay contractors and execute programmes from the funds released for emergency procurement of strategic grains which is unrelated to the purpose of the funds.

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