The Social Investment Program (SIP) in Taraba is to refund over N22. 25 million unclaimed funds from the school feeding program to the Federal Government.
Ms. Beatrice Kitchener, the Taraba Focal Person for the program, disclosed this to newsmen in Jalingo while reacting to reports of alleged sharp practices involving officials of the program in the state.
According to her, money paid into bank accounts of some vendors, who registered in the ongoing school feeding program but never showed up, have been lying unattended to in the bank for months without anybody coming over to withdraw item.
Kitchener said that efforts had been made to contact the supposed owners of the accounts through the information provided during the account opening in the bank to no avail.
She said the situation informed the decision to contact the national office of the program to provide an account where the money would be refunded.
“We have gathered all the money lying unattended to in the bank and we realized over N22.2 million.
“So, instead of allowing the bank to be trading with the money and making profit, we decided to contact the national office on what to do with the money.
“We are now waiting for the account which they will direct us to pay the money into, it’s not that there is fraud anywhere.
“The checks put in place are such that nobody can steal money from the program, besides we don’t deal with cash, all monies are paid directly into the vendors’ accounts,” she said.
Kitchener lauded the Federal Government for the initiative, saying that many of the vendors who were found wanting in one way or the other had been dismissed. She said that checks had been put in place to ensure the success of the program in the state.
“I want to thank the Federal Government for the initiative and the Taraba Government for the support toward the program.
“The objective of the school feeding program has been achieved as the state has recorded increase in school enrollment.
“As at last count, over 329,956 pupils were being fed daily in the state,” she said.