The presidency on Tuesday said that the case of the alleged certificate forgery of the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun was not a corruption matter.
Mrs Adeosun was alleged to have forged a National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, certificate after an investigation by the Premium Times newspaper.
But Femi Adesina, a presidential spokesman, reaffirmed this stance on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, just as another presidential adviser, Professor Itse Sagay, claimed it is irrelevant if she didn’t do the mandatory youth service.
Mr Sagay, who is the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, further stated that the minister should not be sacked because ‘she’s damn good’.
However, Mr Adesina countered by saying that Mr 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,” he said.
Recall that 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.
The Punch quoted a source who 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.