The Niger Delta Anti-Corruption Forum has called on the interim administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col Milland Dikio, (retd) and the relevant agencies to ensure the prosecution of culprits of contract and scholarship racketeering in the office.
Coordinator of the NDACF, Mr Samuel Joe Samuel, said in a statement yesterday that the affected officials of the PAP who have perpetrated years of contract and scholarship scam should also face prosecution in addition to outright dismissal.
The group commended the interim administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme Col Dikio, for the courage to flush out the corrupt elements who have connived with external elements to steal billions of Naira from the programme .
The group said recent reports of the dismissal of some officials of the office who for long have been milking the PAP came as a pointer to Dikio’s integrity and military background.
Samuel whose statement came after a quarterly meeting of the group in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the dismissed officers are well known to have enriched themselves through phony contracts and scholarship racketeering running into billions of naira.
The NDACF leader said that it was rather reprehensible that between 50 to 60 percent of contracts in the Amnesty Office are handled illegally by members of staff of the PAP through cronies and collaborators.
Samuel lamented that such questionable characters in the Amnesty Office who use fake contractors to plunder the resources of the PAP have frustrated genuine efforts to meet up with the statutory obligations of the office.
The group lamented that the rot in the Amnesty Office caused by the criminal cabal had been tolerated for too long by previous leaders of the programme due to the external involvement of highly influential beneficiaries from the illegal revenue from fathom contracts and scholarships.
The group said: “We received a cheery news last week that there is an ongoing cleansing of the Presidential Amnesty Office in Abuja and upon investigation we confirmed that it was true. To us as a group, this is long overdue and indeed one of the best things to happen to the region. To say that we are happy about it is an understatement.
“A lot of people are not aware that 50 to 60 percent of the contractors handling various projects are staff of the Amnesty Office. They use people as fronts. It is also on record that most of the contracts they award to themselves does not exist. They just get the money and lavish.
“It is the same thing they do with the PAP Scholarship Programme meant for people from impacted communities. They hijack the scholarships and sell the slots. In some schools there are only about 20 to 25 students but the amnesty office pays the fees of as much as 50 to 60 students.”