ICPC reveals 257 projects amounting to over N20b duplicated in 2021 budget

ICPC reveals 257 projects amounting to over N20b duplicated in 2021 budget

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says 257 projects amounting to N20.138 billion were duplicated in the 2021 budget.

The Chairman of ICPC, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday, November 30; at the 3rd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Service.

1st News reports that the summit has the theme: Corruption and the Cost of Governance: New Imperatives For Fiscal Transparency.

He said the money was discovered through the agency’s projects tracking initiative; designed to ensure accountability and transparency in the conception; execution; and management of publicly funded projects.

The ICPC chairman, however, said that the anomaly was rectified; when the commission drew the attention of the Minister of Finance.

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On the tracking of constituency projects, he said under the third phase of the exercise; 1083 projects across the entire country were recorded; with exception of Borno and Zamfara due to security challenges.

He also said the exercise verified implementation of executive and zip projects of legislators.

“We have so far initiated enforcement actions against 67 contractors; and forced them back to site and ensured completion of 966 projects worth N310 billion; some of which were hitherto abandoned.

“Our findings indicate that the same malady of corruption afflicts executive as well as zip projects; thus undermining government projections; escalating the cost of governance; and denying Nigeria value for money.

“These maladies include poor needs assessment that disconnects projects from beneficiaries; false certification of uncompleted contracts as completed.

“Also, deliberate underperformance of contracts, incessant criminal diversion, and conversion of public property by civil servants.

“Other challenges relate to duplication of projects in the budget.

“ICPC review discovered that 257 projects amounting to N20.138 billion were duplicated in the 2021 budget leading us to submit an advisory to the Minister of Finance which was promptly actioned by the Minister to prevent abuse,” he said.

The ICPC boss further explained that the agency investigated some cases of illegal recruitment forwarded to it by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

He added that the outcome of the investigation has far implicated the Ministry of Labour and the University College Hospital Ibadan and a number of corrupt staff of other MDAs at a lower level.

“At another level, a syndicate of corrupt individuals within the service corruptly employ unsuspecting Nigerians, issue them fake letters of employment, fraudulently enroll them on IPPIS.

“Such innocent Nigerians were equally posted to MDAs to commence work.

“ICPC is prosecuting one of the leaders of the syndicate from whose custody we retrieved several fake letters of recommendation purportedly signed by Chief of Staff to the President, Hon. Ministers, Federal Civil Service Commission, and other high ranking Nigerians.

“This abuse of power is consummated with complicity of compromised elements in IPPIS. These cases are currently under investigation,” he added.

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