Indeed, the report revealed the existence and operation of unauthorized accounts. Between 2009 and 2010, 58 bank accounts were allegedly opened at the instance of Mr. Oronsaye without the knowledge and approval of the Accountant General of the Federation. Over N54 billion were transferred to these illegal accounts and eventually withdrawn for undisclosed purposes. The accounts had no cashbooks, payment vouchers, bank reconciliation statements, transcript or any evidence of expenditure returns.
A history of graft
The Auditor General’s report has now added a new layer to the allegations of corruption that have been swirling around the former head of service since December when PREMIUM TIMES broke the story that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] was investigating him over a N6.2 billion biometric enrolment scam.
That report had detailed EFCC’s investigation into how Mr. Oronsaye and other top directors of the Nigerian civil service colluded to allegedly defraud the nation of N6.2 billion pension fund.
The fund, allegedly stolen through a maze of bogus contracts, was meant for biometric enrolment and payment for computer accessories that were never supplied.
Reliable sources at the EFCC had told this newspaper how, between 2009 and 2010, over N6 billion in fake contracts were awarded and paid for under Mr. Oronsaye’s supervision.
In December Mr. Oronsaye was invited by the anti-graft commission to answer questions relating to the multi billion naira pension fund.
Contacted last Thursday, the EFCC wouldn’t say how much progress it has made in its investigation and why it was yet to charge Mr. Oronsaye to court over the matter. “I have to check with our investigators to give you a definite answer but I’m aware investigation has been going on in the past months,” said Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesperson for the commission. “I can assure you that this commission is committed to getting to the bottom of the case and has put some of its best investigators on the matter.”
The biometric fraud
According to sources in the EFCC, Innovative Solutions and Project Limited, a company allegedly handpicked by Mr. Oronsaye, received a contract of N63 million for biometric data capture. The contract, however, served as a conduit through which three individuals and five companies got N705,368,245.
Other companies which had no contract to participate in the biometric data capture exercise but were paid include Frederick Hamilton Global Limited, who received N119,398,500; Xangee Technologies got N153,146,719; Fatidek Venture received N30,056,000; while Obanlado Enterprises was paid N96,765,400.00.
During its investigation, the EFCC uncovered how Phina Chidi, a deputy director in the Pension Account at the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, OHCSF, who had given a written statement to the commission in January, 2011, disclosed to the agency how she was made to shop for companies that would execute contracts and make returns to Mr. Oronsaye. “I was asked by Dr. Shuaibu (Teildi Shuaibu, director, Pension Account) to shop for company names to execute our contracts, proceeds of which should be given to Mr. Stephen Oronsaye the then Head of Service,” Mrs. Chidi said in her latest statement.
Mrs. Chidi also detailed how the proceeds of such deals were kept in the accounts of two banks before Mr. Shuaibu helped to transfer them to Mr. Oronsaye.
Even more scams
Investigation by this newspaper however suggested that there are some corruption fronts that both the Auditor General of the Federation and the EFCC are yet to cover.
For instance, highly placed sources at the presidency and the office of the Head of Service showed PREMIUM TIMES documents detailing how Mr. Oronsaye, on June 30, 2010, transferred N113million from pension account No; 4501040012292 with Union Bank Plc to a Unity Bank account named ‘Contingency.’
The said Contingency account turned out to be a State House Account in the name of Principal Private Secretary to the President, which Mr. Oronsaye continued to run many years after he was removed as private secretary to the president. Further checks showed that a certain Shola Aiyedogbon withdrew substantial part of the illegally transferred funds for onward delivery to Mr. Oronsaye. It was only on January 27, 2011 that Unity Bank alerted the Permanent Secretary, State House, that Mr. Oronsaye was still operating the account before he finally let go.