N500m fraud: ICPC arrests four NTDC officials

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has arrested four more officials of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation   over alleged abuse of office and mismanagement of over N500m.

The suspects were said to have been arrested two weeks ago following a complaint by workers under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress, over alleged illegal employment, abuse of office, diversion of funds and recruitment without due process at the NTDC.

The Director-General of the NTDC, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, was alleged to have, among others, misused N52,014,821 released to the corporation as capital budget from March to July 2014.

THE PUNCH was however informed that the arrested NTDC officials were granted an administrative bail and “are cooperating with the ICPC operatives.”

An ICPC source said, “Some NTDC officials were arrested and interrogated for several hours by the commission’s operatives. They were arrested and later granted an administrative bail. But investigation continues and we will get back to you when investigation is concluded.”

The ICPC Head of Enlightenment, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said, “We don’t discuss our enforcement issues in the media. I have confirmed that investigations are ongoing and that is the best I can tell you. When we conclude investigations, we will take our findings to the Legal Department and if there is a case, we will proceed to court to file the charges. When the charges are filed, they become public property.”

Mbanefo neither returned our correspondent’s telephone calls nor replied to text messages to his phone for her response.

Although she had denied all the allegations, saying, “they are putting lies together to tarnish my image, but God won’t allow it,” documents obtained by our correspondent indicated that some officials of NTDC were invited for questioning.

An invitation letter by the acting Head of Special Investigations in ICPC, H.M. Hassan, to Mbanefo directed her to release the Head of Administration and Personnel and the Director of Finance to assist the commission in the investigation of a petition relating to the violation of the ICPC Act 2000.

The two officials were told to produce the list of the NTDC’s employees as of December 2014 as well as the “personnel files of all members of staff employed under the leadership of Mrs. Sally Mbanefo as Director-General” and money received from the government.

The anti-graft body also demanded the budget and file containing major contracts awarded and executed in 2013 and 2014.

Culled from Punch Newspapers