The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday arrested the immediate past Minister of the Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, for the March 15, 2014 employment tragedy of the Nigeria Immigration Service and the e-passport project of the service.
The EFCC also arrested the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works and Housing, Abubakar Magaji, who was the permanent secretary at the Ministry of the Interior.
A source at the commission said, “Moro and the permanent secretary are currently in our custody and they are being interrogated based on a fresh evidence.”
As of 10pm, Moro and Magaji were still in EFCC’s custody.
It was gathered that the former minister was being grilled over the 2014 immigration job scam and the 2015 e-Passport biometric project for the NIS.
It will be recalled that on October 20, 2015, the anti-graft agency quizzed Moro for several hours over the scam which led to the death of about 20 applicants in various recruitment centres across the country.
The fraud involved the collection of about N520m from 520,000 Nigerian graduate applicants.
After the tragedy, several civil society groups demanded the resignation or dismissal of Moro and the then Comptroller-General of Immigration, David Parradang, as well as their criminal prosecution for involuntary homicide.
The 7th Senate had also directed its Committee on Interior to carry out a comprehensive probe into the matter.
The Senator Abubakar Bagudu-led committee concluded its investigation and submitted its report but was not listed for consideration.
It was reported that the committee allegedly took into consideration, the fact that Moro, who spearheaded the tragic exercise, was the political godson of the then Senate President, David Mark.
Moro was never sacked by former President Goodluck Jonathan neither did he resign until the end of Jonathan’s administration.
Another source at the EFCC said the arrest of Moro was not unconnected with the e-Passport biometric project for the Nigeria Immigration Service.
The PUNCH had, in December last year, reported that the former minister favoured a firm by allocating 30 per cent of the project profit to the company.
In an SMS to The PUNCH, Moro had stated that his allocation of 30 per cent of the project profit to the firm was predicated on the volume of its investment and cost of operations. He had said he had no stake in the company.
The biometric project, which took off in the country on September 22, 2015, was initiated by Parradang following a letter to Moro on December 18, 2014.
But Moro, according to the document obtained by our correspondent, favoured the private firm on the sharing formula for the proceeds of the project which was based on Private-Public-Partnership arrangement.
Parradang had proposed that the service provider be given 15 per cent of the $100 added to the $1,000 being charged for the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card fee.
But Moro, who signed on the letter, amended the sharing formula by giving 30 per cent to the service provider against the 15 per cent suggested by the immigration service.
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