One billion naira meant for the implementation of the Great Green Wall project under the Ministry of Environment for which the Federal Government has voted N18 billion has been stolen.
The money was moved from the ministry’s account same day Mr President was launching the project in Bachaka, Kebbi State.
A source in the ministry told Daily Trust that “While activities were going on in Kebbi, the attention of the director of finance was drawn to multiple withdrawals from the ministry’s account but before he could react about N1 billion had already been withdrawn.”
The money, according to the source, was transferred into different accounts including those of staff and a cleaning company with the ministry.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) confirmed investigating the fraud but said that the case has been transferred to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for further investigation.
The EFCC, Daily Trust learnt, has carried out series of arrests in the accounts department of the ministry during its investigation.
Apart from the arrests and routine questioning by operatives of the anti-graft agency, nobody has been detained in connection with the fraud.
Mr Bem Gong, Deputy Director Press at the ministry confirmed to Daily Trust that the ministry was aware of the fraud, adding that it was the ministry that alerted and called in the anti-corruption bodies for the investigation.
On the fate of those behind the fraud, Gong said that as far as the ministry was concerned, those behind the fraud are not known. “The ministry is waiting for the outcome of investigation by the anti-corruption bodies before taking any action,” Gong said.
The Great Green Wall was until late last year a unit under the ministry until it was upgraded to a full agency by government.
Written by Alex Abutu