The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has organised a Service Wide Sensitisation and Peer Review Meeting for members of Anti-Corruption and Transparency Monitoring Units (ACTUs) in government establishments nationwide to enhance their effectiveness.
The Peer Review Meeting, aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of ACTUs was organised with the support of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) and Justice For All (J4A), a programme of Department for International Development (DFID) for Governance, Justice and Anti-corruption.
Speaking on the importance of ACTUs in the fight against corruption, the Permanent Secretary, Service Policies and Strategies Office (OHCSF), Mrs. Nuratu Batagarawa said, “ICPC established ACTUs in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to tackle corruption in civil service through the preventive approach and the institutionalisation of a culture of transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business”.
Mrs. Batagarawa further said that because of the role of ACTUs in MDAs, a caucus stakeholders meeting was convened recently by Civil Service Transformation Department, ICPC, Federal Ministry of Justice and J4A to review the status of ACTUs in MDAs, their state of effectiveness and how to move the units forward.
She explained that after extensive deliberations at the meeting, it was agreed that some of the actions that would strengthen ACTUs include: creating a budget line for ACTUs in MDAs annual budget while a circular with the attachment of revised template of Quarterly Reporting and ICPC Standing Order should be issued and sent to permanent secretaries and heads of agencies to remind them of ensuring the representation of ACTUs on relevant disciplinary, administrative and procurement committees in the civil service for improved transparency.
In her opinion, “It is a known fact that the present administration has the fight against corruption as one of its main pillars, hence, ACTUs are a veritable tool that must be recognised and empowered to work efficiently in the anti-corruption campaign”. She pledged the commitment of her office towards the success of ACTUs through collaboration with ICPC and J4A, adding that steps had been taken to implement the agreements reached at the stakeholders meeting to enhance the functions of ACTUs.
In his remarks, the representative of the Chairman of ICPC and Head of Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Department (CMED), Mr. Akeem Lawal, said the aim of the event was to further strengthen ACTUs and make them more effective. According to him, “ACTUs are meant to be agents of change in their organisations. Enough tools have been developed to ensure your effectiveness, make use of it”.
Mr. Lawal urged members of ACTUs to always ensure that ICPC had information on developments within their organisation and should also complement efforts geared towards sensitising their agencies.
Speaking at the occasion, the Director, Civil Service Transformation Department (OHCSF), Mr. Gabriel Aduda said peer review for ACTUs would be organised quarterly from next year.
Aduda explained that the essence of the peer review was to share knowledge and experiences among ACTUs and that, it would bring them to management attention since it would be hosted rotationally among the MDAs which would require the attendance of the head of hosting organisation.
He also said that communiqués from the peer review meetings would be presented by the Permanent Secretary of Service Policies and Strategies Office (OHCSF) at the monthly Perm Sec meetings which would further assist the acceptance of ACTUs by heads of agencies.
Mr. Aduda emphasised that administrative part of the reports by ACTUs should be submitted to OHCSF and concluded that the knowledge of members of ACTUs would be enriched by the peer review exercise.