The Nigerian government on Monday said that the case of the alleged certificate forgery of the Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun would soon be proven as untrue soon as investigations are done.
This is coming 60 days after Adeosun was alleged to have forged a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate after an investigation by an online newspaper, Premium Times.
The presidency noted that it will take the appropriate action immediately details of the investigations are made public.
“The minister of information has spoken on the matter. And a process is ongoing to address the allegations. When that process is complete, Nigerians will know the outcome,” said senior special assistant on media and publicity to the President Buhari, Garba Shehu, on AIT's Kaakaki.
“It’s an allegation. If it is proven, you will see what will happen. The minister and the NYSC have spoken on the matter.”
When challenged on the length of time the ‘investigation’ was taking, Shehu said: “It is not for me to decide (the duration). I don’t have the full facts of the matter, so why the investigation is not out, I don’t know. I hope there will be an early outcome.
Recall that, Professor Itse Sagay, chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) had said the minister should not be sacked because ‘she’s damn good’. He further claimed it is irrelevant if she didn’t do the mandatory youth service.
Femi Adesina, a presidential spokesman on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, stated that the case was not a corruption matter. He further noted that Professor Itse Sagay’s comments were his personal opinion and not the stance of the President.
‘It was a personal comment, that is not the position of the Government and Professor Sagay has a right to his opinion.
“It will not be down the aisle of Professor Sagay to advise on that matter because it is not a corruption matter so to speak.”
Section 13 of the NYSC law prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates, while eligible Nigerians who skipped the service are liable to be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2, 000 fine.
Section 13 (3) of the law also prescribes three-year jail term or option of N5, 000 fine for anyone who contravenes the provision of the law as is alleged Mrs Adeosun has done.
Subsection 4 of the same section also criminalises giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate. It provides for up to a three-year jail term for such offenders.
Sources have claimed that the Presidency could be considering granting the minister clemency for the forgery case ‘in view of the great works she has done for government — bailing out the country from recession and stabilizing the economy.’
However, legal practitioners have countered that, saying only after a conviction can anyone be granted a pardon.