Alleged misconduct: Permanent secretary denies allegations of misappropriation

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Mohammed Bello Umar

By Anayo Ezugwu

MOHAMMED Bello Umar, permanent secretary, federal ministry of science and technology, is battling to save his career, following a barrage of allegations. Umar said he never used his position to enrich himself or award contracts to friends and well-wishers.

While responding to query issued to him by Folasade Yemi-Esan, head of service of the federation on his dealings as a permanent secretary, federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, FMARD, Umar said all the allegations contained in the query were false.

Yemi-Esan, in the query with reference number: HSCF/PSO/AOD/P.030/58, dated May 11, 2020, sort clarification on all the contracts awarded by Umar as permanent secretary FMARD. But Umar in his response said all transactions at the ministry under him were approved through administrative process and principles in line with the conduct of government business.

He noted that FMARD runs a rolling budget year-in-year-out as most projects are being captured as ongoing. He also noted that all contacts and procurement and payment at the ministry followed due process. “There are procedures for contracts/procurement and payments handled by various departments in all government agencies, FMARD inclusive.

“All contractors, whose contract was captured in the 2018 budgetary allocation, were paid in accordance to budgetary releases. However, contractors whose contracts are ongoing were rolled over as ongoing. Rollover capital projects are not new in contract management.

“My tenure as permanent secretary at FMARD commenced from January 10, 2019 to December 18, 2019 and hence cannot be held responsible or liable for actions prior to January 10. The contractual liability as at when I was leaving was N48,429,543,895.72. it should be noted that FMARD usually runs two budgets; that of the current year and the preceding year and, that most contracts of FMARD are continuous in nature and hence the necessity for contractual liabilities.

“Ministries that rollover budget cannot escape having liabilities. I have never directed or approved any form of virement during my tenure. The decision to make such payments was reached at management meeting presided over and approved by the current minister of FMARD Alhaji Muhammed Sabo Nanono. When funds are released management will seat to decide implementation in line with the priorities,” he said.

Umar alleged that Mu’azu Abdulkadir, current permanent secretary FMARD that is guilty of virement. He accused Abdulkadir of refusing to sign and release letters of award of contract to the respective contractors, but instead diverted and vire the funds to other projects in his locality.

He alleged that the said projects were never part of the appropriation, neither advertised nor bided for. “The projects in his locality that he awarded and executed in complete disregard to due process is estimated at over N3 billion.

Umar said his accusers want to drag his name and of over 35 years through the mud. “Having served in the federal civil service for over 35 years, I was never queried or found wanting, but earned various commendation awards and many indelible contributions to the nation-building,” he said.

– May 20, 2020 @ 16:39 GMT |

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