Nigeria’s anti-graft agencies urged to beam searchlight on alleged fraud in Voice of Nigeria

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By Lawrence Duya

Some concerned former members of Board of Directors, Voice of Nigeria, have charged the anti corruption agencies, EFCC and ICPC, to urgently investigate alleged cases of fraud in the external radio station.

The members, who made the appeal in Lagos, said the call became necessary in the wake of EFCC invitation to some staff members of VON over allegations of fraud running into several million of dollars.
They are are worried that staff claims are not paid and morale of staff is being dampened, while some few are living big through corrupt enrichment.

Already, about ten staff members, including top management staff both serving and retired, have been summoned and quizzed over their role in the petition over the purchase of OB Vans. Other allegations include over invoicing and contract inflation.

The former Board members advised the anti graft agencies not to sweep the matter under the carpet as efforts are being made to alert the presidency over the gross abuse.

“EFCC must do a proper job to unravel those involved and appropriate punishment meted out to serve as deterrent to others”

Our Correspondent visited the Corporate office in Abuja and was told that the Director General, Mr Osita Okechukwu, was out of town. A few staff, who spoke, confirmed that officials of the EFCC, have been coming to check financial records and transactions made.
They did not, however, give details of the number of those invited so far.
Some of the union officials expressed reservations about the EFCC raid. “The Management has a way of settling the matter, adding that money meant to pay staff claims and duty tour allowance are diverted for such settlement”, they stated.

The officials have vowed that this time around, no VON money should be used as a bail out.

An official of the EFCC also confirmed that some VON staff are being investigated over allegation of fraud, but refused to say the number, pointing out that the matter is ongoing as more people will be invited for questioning.
“Quite a number have appeared, while some have been bailed, till they are called upon again” he remarked.

Meanwhile, majority of VON staff have been suffering from unpaid claims running into several millions of Naira, while others are feeding fat from corrupt practices.