EFCC investigates SURE-P, probes N62m payment to perm sec

By The Citizen

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched fresh investigations into the defunct Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme.

SURE-P was set up by the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2012 after nationwide protests following the hike in the prices of petroleum products.

The SURE-P was mandated to convert saved fuel subsidy money into jobs, roads and other people-oriented programmes but became political during the build up to the last elections.

It was gathered that the fresh EFCC's investigations followed a revelation last week that the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Clement Iloh, received N62m from SURE-P through his private company, Clement, Bob and Associates.

It was learnt that the EFCC's investigation of SURE-P as of now is focused on of N62m paid to the permanent secretary's company account.

About N316m was said to have been found in Iloh's company account of which N14m emanated from the account of the Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency under the leadership of the immediate past Director-General of the agency, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi.

A reliable source at the EFCC told our correspondent on Sunday that the EFCC would check the books of SURE-P in order to determine why it paid N62m into the account of a serving permanent secretary and whether it was in the habit of transferring money indiscriminately to private individuals.

He said, 'We have always known that SURE-P operated in a questionable manner. If you recall, a former Chairman of SURE-P, Christopher Kolade, had said last year that he resigned his position in 2013 because its operations were becoming tainted with corruption and politics, thereby losing its credibility.

'This fresh revelation that N62m was paid into the account of a serving permanent secretary only reaffirms our suspicions. We have therefore launched an investigation into the matter.'

When asked if the commission would invite ex-directors of SURE-P the source said, 'We can't disclose that for now. We will make decisions based on the outcome of investigations.'

It will be recalled that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission had begun a probe into the activities of directors and senior officials of SURE-P.

The ICPC had frozen the accounts of some of the officials and  seized vehicles from them.

The ICPC had also seized over 60 vehicles from the directors. Our correspondent learnt that the probe was in relation to a N3bn fraud involving the Federal Ministry of Finance and the SURE-P Graduate Internship Scheme.

Meanwhile, the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, has returned N120m to the Federal Government.

The PUNCH had report exclusively last week that Amosu had returned N2.3bn in cash to the Federal Government.

However, a reliable source told our correspondent on Sunday that the former air chief had paid another installment of N120m. Punch