16 September 2015, Abuja – The Ministry of Power on Tuesday stated that its Permanent Secretary, Godknows Igali, and one other of its official, Mrs. Sybil Williams are not guilty of an alleged mismanagement of public funds earmarked for training of young electrical artisans and technicians in a federal government backed vocational training.
The ministry in a statement from its head of public information unit, Timothy Oyedeji said in Abuja that news reports of the Senate probe of the duo were not factual and that the officials are not guilty of any of alleged crimes.
Both Igali and Williamson were accused in a petition to the Senate Committee on Power of embezzling N3.5 billion allegedly set aside by the government in 2014 to fund the National Power Sector Apprenticeship Scheme (NAPSAS) by some of the scheme’s beneficiaries.
The beneficiaries in the petition cited multiple infractions in the management of the scheme and its funds by the Igali and Williamson who is the coordinator of the scheme.
But Oyedeji explained in the statement that the allegations were not true.
He said: “The report claimed that a petition detailing wrong doings against the Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Godknows Igali and the programme coordinator, Mrs. Sybil Williams, as having allegedly embezzled money in the sum of N3.5 billion meant to run a training programme for Nigerian youth.
“The training programme is to ensure that trainees undertake technical skill acquisition for 6 months to fill-in the gap within the manpower in the power sector.”
“There are a number of fallacies that are raised in the said petition, the origin of the N3.5 billion is still unknown. What the ministry is aware of is a presidential approval of N1.3 billion to be sourced from the existing capital allocation to the ministry.
“For a programme that was flagged off on November 6, 2014. cannot be immune from lack of budgetary releases, that have become epileptic, so even what has been made available so far for the programme is far less than the approved N1.3 billion. I wonder where these officials could have had access to N3.5 billion,” he stated.
Oyedeji also said: “To further rubbish NAPSAS, the report claimed that only 25 trainees attended the flag off of the programme in Abuja whereas it is on record that 20 trainees per State including the FCT were invited for the event, the total number being 740 trainees.”
A recent report from the Accountant General’s office confirmed that no capital allocation were made for two quarters last year (2014), while non has been released this year (2015). It is against all odds that the ministry has kept NAPSAS programme on track.
The approved stipend for the participants is N18,000.00 and not N20,000.00 as quoted by the report,” he added.
He also noted that the programme was meant to train artisans and technicians for use in the power sector and not engineers, adding however that: “It is expedient to note that NAPTIN is responsible for the training of engineers, who are to operate in the power sector.”
- This Day