The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it has commenced investigation into petitions received from Premium Times and Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Ad-Hoc Committee on the Investigation of Job Racketeering and Gross Mismanagement in Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), over bribery allegations against the probe panel.
A statement by ICPC’s spokesperson Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, announced the planned investigation though Rectors of Federal Polytechnics on Thursday denied the allegations that they were asked to bribe members of the House committee.
Unrelenting, the online newspaper, Premium Times, has threatened to give more details on the bribery scandal, just as vice chancellors have also denied bribing anyone.
It insists its investigation revealed that vice-chancellors of universities paid N2 million each into a Providus Bank account number provided by the lawmakers through a middleman. Rectors of polytechnics and provosts of colleges of education paid three million each, it adds.
The publication proceeded to publish its petition and that of the Chairman of the House Committee to the ICPC..
Below are the petitions by Premium Times and Chairman of the House Representatives Ad-hoc committee:
Premium Times petition
RE: INVESTIGATION: NIGERIAN LAWMAKERS PROBING JOB RACKETEERING ARE EXTORTING MONEY FROM AGENCIES
REQUEST FOR THOROUGH INVESTIGATIONS AND POSSIBLE PROSECUTION
We write to call your attention to our latest investigative story exposing how members of an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives set up to investigate job racketeering in federal agencies are extorting subjects of their probe, including heads of various higher institutions of learning.
We are requesting that you urgently begin a probe into this scandal with a view to prosecuting all culpable individuals and ensuring justice is served.
We also hope that your probe will help to put an immediate stop to what we believe to be an ongoing arm-twisting scheme of the lawmakers, and save the public treasury from further bleeding in this time of economic difficulties in our country.
As characteristic of our organisation, we embarked on this weeks-long, painstaking investigation to expose the scandal in public interest. We bear in mind that this is coming at a time of plummeting capacity of governments to adequately fund education and other social services that can positively affect the lives of a good number of Nigerians.
Our report, printed copy of which is attached to this letter for ease of reference, shows how the 39-member committee of the House of Representatives set up on 5 July 2023 has been intimidating heads of agencies into paying bribes to avoid being disgraced in public and indicted in a report to be issued after the ongoing hearings.
Almost all the heads of the nation’s federal institutions have been summoned to appear.
Our report revealed that the lawmakers held meetings with heads of federal government-owned universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education to negotiate illicit payments to them in exchange for clearance in the committee’s eventual report.
The vice-chancellors were given Account Number 5400495458, domiciled in Providus Bank, to pay into, and a deadline of Thursday, 24 August, to pay.
From the tertiary institutions alone, we confirmed that an estimated N267 million has been collected by the panel in the corrupt scheme.
Our investigation was able to determine that the bank account into which the extortion proceeds are paid belongs to a certain Ama Business Solutions, a company fronting for the committee as a consultant. The address of the company is given in corporate filings as Plot 2249, Zone 4 Plaza, Constantine Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.
Sir, other details that can assist your investigations are contained in the story.
Apart from the fact that the ICPC has the statutory mandate to confront public corruption of this nature, we are confident in your capacity and that of your agency to investigate and prosecute culpable persons for crimes like this that constitute a huge economic drain and injure public sensibility in times like this in our country.
We assure you that we will provide support as much as we can to assist your investigations.
Thank you sir, in anticipation of your prompt action.
Yusuf Gagdi’s petition
Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, (ICPC).
Plot 802, Constitution Avenue Zone, Central District PMB 535 Garki Abuja
REQUEST FOR INVESTIGATION OF ACCOUNT RELATED TO CORRUPTION ALLEGATION.
The cyberspace was recently inundated with a news story published by the Premium Times online media, alleging extortion by the committee of the House of Representatives probing employment racketeering in federal establishments.
The story provided an account number wherein the proceeds of extortion of federal agencies were allegedly being channelled or is to be channel.
As Chairman of the Ad-hoc committee, I am constraint to reach out to your good office to launch an investigation into establishing any connections between the operators of the said account with any members of the committee for possible prosecution as raised by Premium Times.
The reputation of honourable members of the House of Representatives who are serving in this committee is currently at stake by reason of the allegations raised by the online media. It becomes imperative to meticulously investigate the account and relationship with any member of the committee with a view to prosecuting the matter, please.
The account details provided by the news outlet is:
Account Name: AMA Business Solutions.
Account Number: 5400495458
While awaiting your urgent action, you have the assurance of my warmest regards.
Rt Hon Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, OON.