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N3.9bn fraud: Immigration petitions EFCC against govt officials, contractor

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N3.9bn fraud: Immigration petitions EFCC against govt officials, contractor

Babandede

Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, on Wednesday said that it has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to investigate unnamed Ministry of Interior officials and a private firm, Messrs Continental Transfect Technique Limited allegedly involved in the N3.9billion contract for the production of Combined Residence Permit Alien Card, CERPAC.

Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, disclosed this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts following a query issued against the agency by the Auditor General of the Federation, AuGF, Anthony Ayine.

Ayine in the query has expressed concern that his audit inspection revealed that nothing had been done at new issuing centers in 28 states command, even after N3.9 billion had been deducted or set aside for the project.

But addressing the Senate Committee on Public Accounts led by Senator Mathew Uroghide, the Comptroller General absolved his agency of involvement in the alleged contract scam.

He declared that the contract in question was between the Ministry of Interior and Messrs Continental and maintained that the Immigration was included in the deal as a mere enforcing agency on behalf of the Ministry of Interior.

Babandede expressed the hope that the EFCC would recover the fund from the contractor and the ministry officials after its investigation as he maintained that the project was poorly executed.

He said: “The Immigration was included in the deal as a mere enforcing agency on behalf of the Ministry of Interior. Therefore, the Nigeria Immigration Service may not have the satisfactory answer to the query from this contract.”

The AuGF had raised concern over the manner the contract to replace the paper Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens card in use with combined special purpose card that would ensure computer legibility and 21st century computer compatibility was executed.

Aside its observation that nothing was done in 28 issuing centers across the country, he also observed that “the actual cost for the establishment of the 28 new issuing centers was not stated in contract agreement.”

Ayine’s audit inspection which formed the basis of the query issued to the CG, Nigeria Immigration Service read in part: “An agreement for combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) was entered into between the Federal Ministry of Interior at Area 1, Garki Abuja and the company on 25th May, 1999.

“The purpose of this contract was to replace the paper Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens card in use with combined special purpose card that would ensure computer legibility and 21st century computer compatibility.

“Applicants would pay $350 which formed the basis for sharing ratio as follows: Federal government – 50 percent, contractor -40 percent, designated account of the Ministry as operation cost -10 percent.

“The following irregularities were observed – FGN-20 percent , contractor -40 percent, contractor -25 percent, contractor -7 percent, NIS-7 percent and Ministry of Interior -1 percent.

“As at December 2015 physical audit inspection revealed that nothing had been done at new issuing centers in 28 states command, even after N3.9 billion had been deducted or set aside from sharing ratio purpose between 2014and 2015.

“The actual cost for the establishment of the 28 new issuing centers was not stated in contract agreement.

“The duration of the contract of the project, the eventual cost implication and the date prior to 45 percent of the ratio will revert back to the federal government was not known and was not stated.

“CG has been requested to address irregularities mentioned as well as account for N3.9billion already deducted forwarding evidence of action taken for audit verification.”

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