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Corruption charges: Yar’Adua fires Ministers of Health

Posted by By LUCKY NWANKWERE, Abuja on 2008/03/26 | Views: 2934 |

Corruption charges: Yar’Adua fires Ministers of Health


The Minister of Health, Prof. Adenike Grange and her Minister of State, Arc. Gabriel Aduku have become the first major victims of the Umar Yar’Adua administration’s avowed zero tolerance on corruption as they were fired on Tuesday over corruption charges against them.

• Both to face EFCC

The Minister of Health, Prof. Adenike Grange and her Minister of State, Arc. Gabriel Aduku have become the first major victims of the Umar Yar’Adua administration’s avowed zero tolerance on corruption as they were fired on Tuesday over corruption charges against them.

The two ministers, appointed about eight months ago, and some top officials of the health ministry were accused of taking out and sharing part of the unspent ministry’s money totaling N300 million.

President Yar’Adua had directed that all unspent 2007 budget funds be returned to the coffers of government at the end of last year.

While the other ministries and parastatals complied with the presidential directive, the sacked ministers, in connivance with some senior staff of the ministry, allegedly worked out a plan to utilise the unspent budgetary allocation.

All other officers who participated in the subversion of the presidential directive on the return of the unspent budget funds to the treasury have also been placed on indefinite suspension, in accordance with civil service rules, pending further disciplinary action.

The top functionaries include the permanent secretary in the ministry, Prof. Simon Ogamdi; the director of administration, Dr. H.B. Oyedepo; the director of finance, Hanafi Muhammed; another director, Mr. M.S. Hamid; a chief accountant, Abdulrahaman Ambali, a principal administrative officer, Mr. Donald Ekanem, a principal transport officer, Mr. Donatus Iyang, and seven other others.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was alerted on the development by an aggrieved member of staff of the ministry, who was said to be dissatisfied with the formula adopted in the sharing of the funds.

Consequently, the anti-corruption agency swung into action, quizzing the minister and other top functionaries of the ministry allegedly involved in the deal.
Following charges of corruption brought against them by the EFCC, President Yar’Adua immediately demanded from both ministers their resignation letters so they could be better placed to respond to the charges against them.

As the sacked officials departed the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday after completing the process, a top government functionary made frantic effort to stop State House correspondents from either talking to them or taking their photographs.
Presidential spokesman, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, who addressed newsmen on the matter, said it was expected that without the burden of their ministerial duties, Grange and Aduku would be in a better position to face the EFCC.

Pointing out that the Minister of Labour, Dr. Hassan Lawal is henceforth to oversee the affairs of the health ministry until further notice, he said President Yar’Adua had also ordered the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Engr. Ebele Okeke to effect the suspension of the other affected officials.

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