Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
TheÂ federal government on Tuesday disclosed that it had uncovered large-scale fraud in theÂ Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), alleging that it was fraught withÂ irregularities in previous deployment of delegates for educational programmes in some universities in the country.
It disclosed that an alarming figure of students enrolled in universities under the PAP were not captured in the data base at the Amnesty Office.
The Amnesty Office, in a statement yesterday said the discovery followed a verification exercise ordered by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, on assumption of office.
A statement issued by Murphy Ganagana, Special Assistant (Media) to Dokubo said a committee set up to ascertain the number of beneficiaries of the Amnesty programme hitherto deployed to universities onshore for various educational programmes, discovered that an alarming figure of students enrolled in universities under the PAP were not captured in the data base at the Amnesty Office.
â€œAgainst the backdrop of huge tuition fees forwarded to the Amnesty Office for payment by some universities in the country for supposed beneficiaries deployed to the institutions for study, Dokubo constituted a committee headed by the Head of Reintegration, Amnesty Office, Chief Aroloyeteim Brown, to verify beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme in local universities.
â€œThe committee was among others, mandated to ascertain admission process of the students into the various institutions; determine whether the students are beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme, and, if not, who was responsible for their admission or deployment.
â€˜It is also probing the disparity in tuition fees for students deployed by the Amnesty Office and others undergoing same programmes at the institutions, and to ascertain if there had been insider collaboration to pad fees of our delegates for pecuniary interests.
â€œThe committee which is rounding off its assignment, has however, uncovered large scale fraud in previous deployment of delegates not captured in the data base of beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme to various universities within the country.
â€œChecks indicated that while a new university (identity withheld) recently forwarded a list of 62 pre-degree students to the Amnesty Office for payment of tuitions fees, the committee discovered that only 14 of them were captured in the data base of beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme,â€ the statement said.
According to Amnesty Office, only 34 out of 201 first year students at another new university in the South-eastern part of the country were also cleared as beneficiaries in the Amnesty database.
â€œIn the same vein, the names of 200 first year students out of a total of 290 sent to the Amnesty Office for payment of tuition fees by three universities in the South-south (names withheld) could not be verified on the data base of beneficiaries.
â€œThe names of only 90 students from the three institutions were verified.
â€œHowever, Dokubo is deeply concerned over this worrisome development, especially the plight of the affected students and he is exploring measures to address the situation after meeting the management of the affected institutions,â€ the statement concluded.