By Clare Nwaiwu
The last may not have been heard of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun’s alleged falsified National Youth Service Corps NYSC discharge certificate, as the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has issued NYSC a seven-day ultimatum to provide documents on the certificate.
A statement signed Thursday by the group’s Deputy Director, Mr. Timothy Adewale, stated that SERAP, leveraging Freedom of Information Act, had forwarded a request, asking Director-General NYSC, Brig-Gen. Sule Kazaure, to release the documents.
Adewale said that the request pressed on Kazaure to urgently provide information on specific details and documents on the Exemption Certificate granted to the minister.
According to SERAP, if the information was not provided within seven days of the receipt of the request, Registered Trustees of SERAP would take all appropriate legal actions.
“SERAP also asked Kazaure to provide information and documents on whether Mrs. Adeosun applied for NYSC Exemption Certificate, and if she did, to clarify whether the NYSC actually granted her the certificate.
“SERAP also wants to know the circumstances and the provisions of the NYSC Act under which the Exemption Certificate was granted.
“This is because we need the information to determine if the crime of forgery has been committed and if so, to consider possible action in the circumstances.
[penci_blockquote style=”style-2″ align=”none” author=””]He recalled that NYSC had issued a statement confirming that the minister applied for an Exemption Certificate, and promised to ‘investigate the origin of the purported Exemption Certificate in question.[/penci_blockquote]
“The action may also include but not limited to asking the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to pursue prosecution or for us to consider the option of a private prosecution,” Adewale said.
The director noted that SERAP believed that by providing the FOI request on the information and documents on the Exemption Certificate, NYSC would help put an end to any insinuation of complicity.
He said NYSC by that act, would have displaced transparency and accountability in the discharge of its statutory mandates, affirming that it would also contribute to improving the integrity and image of the corps.
SERAP said that continued silence of NYSC management on the matter may create the impression that an offence may have been committed, increasing accusation that the management had something to hide.
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The director said SERAP believes Adeosun remains innocent until the allegations against her are properly tested and proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of competent jurisdiction.
He stated that SERAP had urged the NYSC management to open up on the matter and provide information and documents as requested.
Adewale pointed out that the development had seriously dented public trust and confidence in NYSC as a public institution established to serve public interest.
He recalled that NYSC had issued a statement confirming that the minister applied for an Exemption Certificate, and promised to ‘investigate the origin of the purported Exemption Certificate in question.
He said, however, that SERAP was concerned that the statement lacked specificity as to whether Adeosun was issued the certificate, pointing out that though the statement was issued on July 9, 2018, NYSC management had so far failed or neglected to publish the outcome of the investigation as it promised.