Okwe Obi, Abuja
President Mohammadu Buhari has issued a query to the former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural, Dr. Mohammed Bello, who is now in the Ministry of Science and Technology, for allegedly failing to pay eligible contractors despite budgetary release of N98, 405,763,678.68 in 2018 appropriation, leading to an outstanding N49 billion.
Daily Sun had reported the purchase of the dilapidated eight-storey building but was refuted by former minister Audu Ogbeh, who claimed that the building was thoroughly inspected by the ministry of works.
According to a letter from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation dated 11 May, 2020, with a reference number HCSF/POS/ P. 030/58, and titled ‘Allegations for acts of misconducts in your former post of permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: Preliminary Letter/Query’, he is also accused of purchasing 7 deep drilling rigs for N300 million without recourse to the Federal Executive Council.
The letter read in part: “The attention of Mr President has been drawn to the act of service misconduct against you in your former post as permanent secretary in the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development in which he has given further details directive.
Specifically, it was alleged that in spite of the budgetary release of the N98, 405,763,678.68 in 2018 which represents N99, 44 of 2018 appropriation. You did not take necessary action to pay the eligible contractors which led to the ministry having outstanding contractual liability in the sum of N48, 429, 543,895.72.
Under your leadership as the Accounting Officer, the ministry utilised the entire 2019 first quarter release of N7, 737, 208, 135 .18 to to pay for the 2018 contracts that were fully funded in 2018 which constitutes virement without authority.
“Under your leadership as Accounting Officer, you oversaw a transaction for the purchase of a building for the use of the ministry at the sum of N7, 044, 746, 264.06 without the conduct of the mandatory statutory structural and mechanical integrity test; and prior approval of the FCDA public building department; the building was eventually found to be an uncompleted carcass requiring billions of naira to complete and make safe for occupation.
“Under your watch as the Accounting Officer, the ministry procured seven deep drilling rigs for borehole at an average cost of N300,000,000 without recourse to the Federal Executive Council.”