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ICPC arrests, quizzes agric ministry officials over fraud

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Five senior officials in the Department of Farm Inputs Support Services of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have been arrested by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) over alleged diversion of funds.

They were said to have been arrested around 9 a.m. on Thursday in a sting operation that lasted for about an hour in their office at the 5th Floor, Bank of Agriculture Building, Central Business District, Garki, Abuja.

It was learned that the ICPC detained four of the officials for five days before they were later released. The director among them was said to have been released on health grounds.

According to the ICPC, over N200 million was found in the bank account of one of the officials being grilled, while over N100 million was found in the bank account of one of his children.

Also, over N250 million in cash was found in the Abuja house of one of the suspects.

An investigation by the ICPC detectives revealed an inflow of over N60 million in six months into the bank account of one of the suspects.

The ICPC has also seized land, including a bakery and one herbal hospital.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the ICPC, Azuka Ogugua, said the investigation was still on.

She said, “We don’t give updates on our cases to journalists. We don’t do media trials; that’s why I didn’t respond to your several inquiries. How do you now expect me to start disclosing to you? It doesn’t make sense. I can’t tell you; that is wrong; it’s unethical. How can I tell you the outcome of our investigation?

“When the case goes to court, it will be in the public domain. There is nothing I can discuss; it will be tantamount to a media trial.”

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