The Federal Government has set up machinery in motion to scrap the Amnesty morning Programme, following reports of embezzlement of billions of naira, our correspondent can reliably report.
As a first step toward scrapping the Amnesty office, established in 2007 by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari, has put together a team of officers in the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to draw up the modalities for ending the programme as well as investigate allegations of fraud running into hundreds of billions of Naira perpetrated in the office since its inception.
The ICPC team our correspondent gathered, is expected to present its reports to the President, as soon as the government eases the lockdown in the country, following the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world.
The Amnesty programme was put in place to demilitarized and rehabilitate repentant militants in the Niger Delta,
A top Presidency source told our correspondent, on Wednesday that President Buhari “is very sad over the corruption at the Amnesty office and is said to be unprepared to further pour the nation’s scarce resources into the programme, which has become a cesspool of corruption by successive heads. The loss of relevance and the complaints of huge fraud over the years necessitated the NSA Major General Babagana Monguno, on the directive of Mr. President to put up the ICPC team to investigate the Amnesty office and its Coordinator”.
“The team is expected to recommend the exit plan for the programme because the government cannot continue to invest in this programme that has become a cesspool of corruption. The government wants to scrap the Amnesty Programme,” the source said.
The Presidency source revealed further that the Federal Government “wants to end the Amnesty programme because it is no longer serving the purpose for which it was set up. Now, it is only serving the interests of a select few that have constituted themselves into a cult. It must end because the government does not want to continue to fund a programme that only benefits the very few at the expense of the original beneficiaries”.
Our correspondent gathered that the ICPC is paying particular attention to the alleged embezzlement of over N40 billion under the administration of the suspended Coordinator Professor Charles Dokubo.
Investigations revealed that following series of petition and complaints by certain individuals in the country over the massive corruption in the system, the NSA in February set up the ICPC investigative team comprising top ICPC officials from the Niger Delta region to look into the alleged misappropriation of fund at the Amnesty Office.
“I can confirm to you that ICPC team comprising sons and daughters from the Niger Delta has been assembled to investigate Dokubo and others in the Amnesty office over allegation of corruption running into about N40 billion. The government does not want anybody to accuse it of anything that’s why persons from the region were selected to carry out the investigations. There are about 500 contractors who have come forward claiming to have done different jobs for the office and the ICPC team will investigate their claims and make recommendations to government,” the Presidency source said stressing that “the team is not to award any contract within the period of investigation or dabble into any financial dealing but to investigate and make its recommendations to the government”.
The source further said that “The mandate given to this ICPC team is to investigate all the alleged corrupt practices under the suspended Coordinator and come up with a report to enable the government take a decision on those who are found wanting”.
It woud be recalled that the immediate past coordinators of the programme Major Generals Boroh (rtd) is presently facing corruption charges leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) during his term in office.