The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission on Wednesday confirmed the detention of a popular artiste, Mr Oladipo Oyebanjo, aka D’Banj, over allegations of fraud associated with the N-Power programme, Punch reports.
The spokesperson for the anti-graft agency, Azuka Ogugua, in a statement, noted that investigation was ongoing into the matter.
She said the N-Power was a scheme established by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on June 8, 2016, to address youth unemployment and help increase social development.
Ogugua said, “In line with its mandate, the commission received numerous petitions on the diversion of N-Power funds running into billions of naira following the approval and release of such funds to the beneficiaries by the Federal Government.
“Many N-Power beneficiaries had complained over the non-receipt of the monthly funds in spite of payment by the government.”
Ogugua noted that about 10 persons had been invited by the ICPC over the last few months in connection with the fraud and granted administrative bail.
She said several invitations to Oyebanjo to appear before a team of investigators were ignored.
“Mr Oyebanjo turned himself in and was taken into custody at the ICPC headquarters on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, and is currently assisting investigators to unravel the circumstances of the fraud allegations by the petitioners.
“The investigation will be all-encompassing and extended to other collaborators of the fraud and the banks where the beneficiaries’ accounts are domiciled,” Ogugua added.
The artiste’s lawyer, Maryam Musa, in a statement, described reports of his arrest as “misconceived, malicious and prejudicial to the justice system.”
The statement read in part, “D’banj has no such contractual or incidental relationship whatsoever with any group or persons within or outside government in relation to the disbursement, operation, access or control of the operation of any government fund through an agency or its subsidiaries.
“D’banj has encouraged the commission to carry out its investigation thoroughly to ensure that characters attempting to bring him into such ridiculous activities are brought to book.
“The general public is advised to resist the urge to buy into media sensationalism which is unsurprising but regardless harmful to the course of the truth which D’banj has willingly set himself on by honouring the ICPC’s summons.
“We retain the hope that the thoroughness of the ICPC will in no time exonerate D’banj of all and every allegation levelled against his person…”
Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, on Wednesday, said it reported the sharp practices perpetrated by some payment service providers of its N-Power programme.
The ministry also said it never announced anyone as an ambassador of the National Social Investment Programme, which had the N-Power scheme as one of its arms.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Sani Gwarzo, said, “We are aware that certain persons have consequently been invited for interrogation as part of the ongoing investigations. In the meantime, we have carried out thorough reinforcement of our systems to eliminate all anomalies and prevent similar occurrences in the future.”
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