The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has began probe of directors and senior officials of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
The probe of SURE-P is in connection with N3bn which was meant for the payment of the allowances of 17,500 participants for eight months, which the participants never received.
The scam allegedly involves the Federal Ministry of Finance and the SURE-P Graduate Internship Scheme.
An ICPC source revealed that the probe was kicked-off after the commission received pertinent information that huge funds were embezzled by the officials and that investigating into the programme, the ICPC have frozen the accounts of some of the officials while several vehicles have been seized from them.
“We have frozen the bank accounts of some of the officials while we have started seizing some vehicles from them. Our plan is to seize about 200. Presently, we have seized about 30.”
SURE-P was an initiative of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which kicked off in February 2012 following a nationwide protests against the hike in the prices of petroleum products.
The SURE-P was mandated to convert saved fuel subsidy money to jobs, roads and other people-oriented programmes.
A former Chairman of SURE-P, Christopher Kolade, who resigned his position in 2013 said he did so because its operations were becoming tainted with corruption and politics, thereby losing its credibility.
“When I discovered that there were individuals in the system that were practicing something that was lower than the transparency that we went in with, I raised the issues; and I discovered that political affiliations and things made this difficult.”
President Muhammadu Buhari scrapped the program in November 2015, and ordered a probe into the activities, funding and expenditure of the agency.
The Senate had also requested that former president Goodluck Jonathan be probed and made to account for every penny spent during his administration on SURE-P and other poverty alleviation programmes.
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