Just last week, ex-Minister, Abba Moro, was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over the March 2014 National Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment, which turned out to be a scam. After being tried in court alongside three others who were involved in the 11-count charge including false pretence, procurement fraud and money laundering, Abba Moro has been arraigned before Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
This immigration recruitment exercise had claimed the lives of about 20 job seekers across the country, due to lack of co-ordination by the organizers and this led to stampede at various recruitment venues. The permanent secretary of the Ministry at the time, Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia, a deputy director in the Ministry, F.O Alayebami and one Mahmood Ahmadu were also associated with the crime commited by Mr. Abba, as they were contracted as Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd. to partake in the recruitment execution process.
The defendants were accused of defrauding 676,675 Nigerian applicants of N676,675,000 (Six Hundred and Seventy Six Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Naira), since each of the applicants were charged N1,000 during the application registration exercise. The EFFC has also accused the defendants of flouting the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 in the award of the contract for the organisation of the recruitment test to Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd.
The EFCC said Drexel EFCC had no prior advertisement and no needs assessment and procurement plan was carried out before the contract was awarded. According to the anti-graft agency, the contract was awarded through selective tendering procedure by invitation of 4 (Four) firms without seeking the approval of the Bureau for Public Procurement, contrary to sections 40, 42 and 43 of the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 and punishable under section 58 of the same act.
Drexel is also alleged to be unregistered and had no legal capacity to enter into such a contract with NIS. There is also said to be no budgetary provision for the exercise in the 2014 Federal Capital budget hence the applicants were made to bear the responsibility of funding the project without approval of the Board contrary to section 22(5) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000.
The Judge of the Federal High Court ordered that Mr Abba Moro be remanded in Kuje prison, Abuja, while Mrs. Daniel-Nwobia was released on administrative bail. The case has been adjourned to March 2 for hearing of Mr. Abba Moro’s bail application.