Minster of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has confirmed allegation of fraud in the Federal Government Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria program (YouWIN).
YouWin program was conceived during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan to help youth entrepreneurs grow existing businesses and create employment, but the program has been fraught with corruption, according to a source that spoke to Punch newspaper during the week.
Salisu Na’inna Dambatta, director information at finance ministry, disclosed in a letter that a whistleblower has provided documentary evidence of irregularities in the disbursement of funds, and the minister has directed that an internal investigation be conducted to verify the allegation.
The minister has also suspended further disbursement of the fund until the investigation is completed, Dambatta said.
According to him, one of the awardees was alleged to be the child of a former director in the ministry, and there were a number of cases where married couples each benefitted. The situation has raised concerns about the integrity of the selection process carried out at the inception of the program in 2014.
He said the administration has also found that awardees were overly focused on the grant aspect of the program and only a few had been able to secure other forms of funding to grow their businesses despite each receiving up to 10 million in grants.
But the administration is bound to continue with the project because of the legal commitment attached to it, he said.
The ministry is expected to pay over N600 million for the YouWin batch 3.