The President Muhammadu Buhari administration is set to beam its searchlight on five of the 17 recently retired permanent secretaries with indications emerging on Wednesday that the affected officials may soon be arraigned for alleged corruption.
It was learnt that one of the ex-perm secs slated for trial has already been a guest of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Another, who is widely regarded in federal civil service circles as “brilliant”, allegedly indulged in using public funds to purchase exotic vehicles, embark on foreign trips and paying outrageous hotel bills.
It was also learnt that two of those involved were linked to alleged bribery scandals.
The retired Permanent Secretaries include Aliyu Ismaila; Godknows Igali; Alhaji Baba Farouk; Abdulkadir Musa; Linus Awute; Fatima Bamidele; Obinna John Chukwu; Ezekiel Oyemomi; Anasthesia Nwaobia; Tunji Olaopa; George A. Ossi ; Mike John Nwabiala; Mohammed Bashar and Abdullahi Yola.
The fate of four others was unknown yesterday as they were either not given retirement letters or put on the list of those deployed.
The floating permanent secretaries are: Odusote Ibukun; Henry Akpan, Nkechi Ejele and Dr. James Obiagwu.
According to investigation by The NATION, the Presidency was worried by security reports that many permanent secretaries embezzled public funds with impunity and were living way above their means.
The intelligence reports also revealed large-scale acquisition of property by permanent secretaries and top directors in the civil service.
Some of the allegations being probed include acquisition of choice properties; $4.5b tax holidays; N1.9billion Ebola Fund (including N900million for isolation tents); $2billion arms deal; N29billion fictitious contracts; N275.5million budget for 2015 poll monitoring; the mismanagement of subsidy funds; questionable waivers and N2.4 billion fertiliser scam.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “About five of the retired permanent secretaries might face trial based on discreet investigation by some security agencies on how they mismanaged their ministries.
“Some of these permanent secretaries appeared before one or two anti-graft agencies for questioning. They are already aware of their pending trial.
“Some of these senior civil servants have been pleading for soft landing but the government may not listen to them”.
When asked to be specific on those affected, the source simply said the “anti-graft agencies will soon take charge”.
On the fate of the floating permanent secretaries, a source said: “I think there was a little error in the compilation of the list of those retired. While the Presidency put the figure at 17, a statement by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation said it was 16.
“When the list of deployment was released, these permanent secretaries were neither among those retired nor assigned.
“The Head of Service is making necessary clarifications from the Presidency”.