Nigeria’s immediate past finance minister Kemi Adeosun has explained how she got a National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate believed to be fake.
Adeosun resigned her appointment on Friday, 69 days after Premium Times published a report that her NYSC certificate was not issued by the Corps.
She has since been replaced by Zainab Ahmed, who until Friday was a junior minister in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
“As someone totally committed to a culture of probity and accountability I have decided to resign with effect from Friday, 14th September 2018,” Adeosun said in her resignation sent to President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.
“Upon enquiry as to my status relating to NYSC, I was informed that due to my residency history and having exceeded the age of thirty (30), I was exempted from the requirement to serve,” Adeosun said in the letter.
“Until recent events, that remained my understanding.”
The former minister said on the basis of the advice, guidance and assistance of those she thought were credible people, “NYSC were approached for documentary proof of status. I then received the certificate in question.”
She said, “having never worked in NYSC, visited the premises, been privy to nor familiar with their operations, I had no reason to suspect that the certificate was anything but genuine.
“Indeed, I presented that certificate at the 2011 Ogun State House of Assembly and in 2015 for Directorate of State Services (DSS) Clearance as well as to the National Assembly for screening.”
With her admission to receiving the certificate from the unnamed persons, it is unclear if the Nigerian government will prosecute the minister in line with the provisions of the NYSC Act.
Section 13 (4) of the Act states that: Any person who (a) in giving any information for the purposes of this Act knowingly or recklessly makes a statement which is false; or (b) forges or uses or lends to or allows to be used other than in the manner provided by this Act by any other person any certificate issued pursuant to the provisions of this Act; or (c) makes, or has in his possession any document so closely resembling any certificate so issued as to be calculated to deceive, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
A source told The Guardian in August that President Buhari may ‘pardon’ the minister as a reward for “the great works she has done for government — bailing out the country from recession and stabilizing the economy.”