The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Mr. Nta Ekpo, disclosed on Thursday that the anti-graft agency was currently prosecuting over 400 corruption-related cases across the various courts in the country.
Nta stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Anti- Corruption and Financial Crimes, headed by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (the Peoples Democratic Party, Enugu North) at the Senate wing of the National Assembly.
He noted that the ICPC had carried out some reforms in recent times but blamed the inability of the anti-corruption agency to successfully carry out its functions on non-availability of adequate budgetary provisions by previous governments.
He explained that while 90 per cent of the budget meant for the commission was spent annually on prosecution, only 10 percent was expended on prevention.
He described the arrangement as unproductive and not in tandem with the recommendations of the United Nations.
He said ordinarily, 60 per cent ought to have been spent on prevention, as against the current practice.
Ekpo said, “Nineteen per cent of the time, we talk about corruption. No one spends time to talk about anti-corruption. There is a clear distinction between corruption and other financial crimes.
“When we were sworn in, I was being abused on a daily basis on the pages of national newspapers because of my approach to fighting corruption.
“Our budgetary provisions every year have always been on fighting corruption. Only 10 per cent is budgeted for prevention. Corruption is a transnational issue. It goes beyond Nigeria.
“People did not know that we had about 400 cases going on at the beginning of the year. We had to place an advertisement for Nigerians to know what is happening. ICPC has been in the forefront of educating Nigerians on anti-corruption.”
The ICPC boss said that his agency had put in measures to monitor compliance with the Treasure Single Account and that it was collaborating with the Federal Inland Revenue Service to ensure that people pay their taxes.
Utazi told members of the commission that “Nigeria is in a trying period” in history; hence, the people elected chose to carry this responsibility. According to him, the number one priority on President Muhammadu Buhari’s change agenda was the fight against corruption.
The senator promised that his committee would collaborate with anti-corruption agencies in the country in order to give an impetus to the current anti-graft war being waged by Buhari.
Culled from The Punch