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Senate Uncovers ‘N2.5bn Fraud’ By Presidential Initiative On North East

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The Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East has uncovered a suspected N2.5 billion fraud perpetrated by the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

The PINE, which is charged with the reconstruction and rehabilitation of communities destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents, allegedly awarded and executed non-existing contracts, while over-inflating some of the contracts it executed in parts of the North-Eastern Nigeria.

The Senate committee said that PINE, during interrogation session, could not account for about N2.5 billion it received for the execution of intervention projects in the area.

In a bid to defend how the funds were spent, PINE’s secretary, Umar Musa Gulani, claimed that the agency spent about N203 million to clear grass in Yobe State.

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But the state Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Mohammed Lamin, while refuting the claim, said: “no taipa grass was cleared in the state by any Federal Government agency.”

This is coming at a time when women in most of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps lack basic commodities like sanitary pads, the report revealed.