Minister reacts to Falana's allegation of criminal diversion of funds

Minister reacts to Falana's allegation of criminal diversion of funds

- Nigerian government has said that an allegation by a senior lawyer on Combined Expatriate Resident Permit and Alien Card fee is a misinformation to the public

- The interior ministry in a letter to Femi Falana called for a retraction of the publication on the matter by the lawyer on Nigerian Tribune

- The ministry said contrary to the allegation, it is in contractual relationship with Continental Transfer Technique Limited which produces CERPAC scheme under the Public Private Partnership with total financing by the contractor for the implementation of the project

The minister of interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, on Tuesday, February 12, reacted to an allegation on diversion of public funds against him by a senior advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana.

Dambazzau in a letter seen by Legit.ng and addressed to Falana said, the publication on Tribune of Saturday, February 9, captioned, "Falana accuses FG of criminal diversion of funds" is a misinformation of facts.

The letter dated February 12 and signed by Folakemi Adolore, the director of legal service of the ministry of interior said the ministry frown that the senior lawyer failed to contact it for facts on the subject matter.

In the publication which focuses on Combined Expatriate Resident Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC), Falana alleged that the federal government was diverting a huge sum of money collected in US dollars through fraudulently approval of 70% of its revenue collected on aliens in the country to a foreign consultant.

Falana's allegation contained in a letter dated 29 January, 2019 and addressed to the Minister of Interior was titled: "Criminal diversion of public funds and wrongful enrichment of a foreign consultant by the Ministry of Interior through extortion of foreigners resident in Nigeria in gross violation of the Central Bank Act, Presidential Executive Order No 5 of 2018 and Federal Government policy on Treasury Single Account."

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The letter accused the ministry of Interior of illegally awarding the collection of the CERPAC fee to an Indian firm while criminally allowing the consultant to “pocket 70%” of the collection after hiking the fee from $1,000 to $2,000 per annum per foreigner in Nigeria.

He further called for an end to the alleged illegal increase of the CERPAC fee of $1,000 to $2,000, direct that the naira equivalent of the approved $CERPAC fee of $1,000 be paid directly into the account of FG in line with the TSA policy while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is directed to recover the fund that has been criminally diverted through the foreign consultants engaged by the ministry of interior to collect the CERPAC fee on behalf of the federal government.

The senior lawyer also threatened that if the request by the Falana and Falana Chambers are not granted, it shall not hesitate to institute legal proceedings at the Federal High Court for the recovery of the alleged fund diversion.

However, in its response to the allegation, Adolore said the ministry of interior is in contractual relationship with Continental Transfer Technique Limited which produces CERPAC scheme under the Public Private Partnership with total financing by the contractor for the implementation of the project.

Adolore said the relationship between the ministry and the contractor is governed by an agreement signed by both parties on May 25, 1999.

"In line with the terms of the agreement, the parties are entitled to review the fee for CERPAC as at when the need arises," Adolore said.

She added that, "Before this particular increase is made by the ministry, due consideration is given to what is obtainable in other climes. A lot of factors were taken into consideration which justifiably necessitated the present decision by the federal government."

She said that the proposed review which has been on course since 2015 was increased and approved by the minister in 2018 "strictly in accordance with the provision of the agreement."

She further urged that Falana immediately retract the Tribune publication which she said does not represent the true facts concerning the CERPAC fee by the federal government.

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"The ministry of interior will appreciate a retraction of your story as it does not represent the true facts of the case as presented in the Nigerian Tribune of 9th February, 2019," Adolore advised.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the federal government has assured that it would soon begin the total production of e-passports in Nigeria.

Dambazzau said the ministry is working to towards domestication of e-passport production within the country.

Speaking at a ministerial press briefing by the ministry on Thursday, January 17, Dambazzau said the move to domesticated the production of these passport is to ensure that every material need for the passports are produced in Nigeria and this contributed to the generation of revenue within the country.

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Source: Legit.ng

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