the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) On Friday, he announced that he would invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate allegations of fraudulent practices by NAHCON through the Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS).
NAHCON said an invitation will be officially extended to the EFCC to investigate the management of pilgrim funds.
PREMIUM TIMES understands the commission was reacting to a media report alleging that NAHCON plunged its hands into the fraudulently contributed HSS fund.
Based on several allegations, the House of Representatives on Thursday ordered NAHCON to suspend implementation of the savings plan to allow for a proper investigation.
Launched in October 2020, the HSS is a voluntary contributory scheme introduced by the Hajj Commission in collaboration with JAIZ Bank to enable prospective pilgrims to save money and pay for the hajj in installments.
Lawmakers said the program lacked transparency and accountability, adding that “if development is not addressed, it will lead to corruption in the system and disregard for the law in force.”
But NAHCON, in a statement signed by its acting director of public affairs, Fatima Usara, said it “supports and welcomes” the House committee’s investigation into the pilgrimage.
He added that “every subscriber to the program receives a monthly update on their deposits detailing the resulting benefits. HSS pilgrims monitor their accounts directly from their phones if they wish.
For clarity, the commission said it has “consistently provided progress reports to State Welfare Boards on the performance of the program, the most recent being in March when the Commission released details of the profit distribution to each of the State Welfare Boards Dividends have been shared with the States with details forwarded to them.
“Additionally, if the program lacked transparency, customer information or funds raised would not have been known to the public,” NAHCON said.
Responding to allegations that the commission is plunging its hand into the Pilgrims’ Fund, NAHCON said the “HSS is safely in the custody of Ja’iz Bank.”
“During the two years since the Hajj has not taken place, the Hajj pilgrimage fee deposits have been in the coffers of most state councils/agencies/commissions for the welfare of pilgrims against the directives of NAHCON and against applicable laws, with the exception of Adamawa: who handed over N500 million; Bauchi, N327.5 million; Borno, N100 million; Edo, N124 million; Gombe, 350 million naira; Kogi, N26.6 million; Nasarawa, N252 million; Niger, 433 million naira; Osun: N150 million; Oyo: N200 million; Taraba: 400 million naira; Yobe: N400 million; and Armed Forces, N320 million.
“Similarly, remittances made by the aforementioned states totaling N3.58 billion were held securely at the Central Bank of Nigeria until early this year when the amount was finally returned to the respective states,” the commission said.
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