ICPC briefs NASS on how it restrained N189bn Surplus Personnel Cost from being Diverted

The Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has revealed how the Commission’s advisory to the government helped to block N42 billion personnel cost from being diverted.

He further disclosed that in 2020, the Commission issued another advisory to the Federal Ministry of Finance to restrain the sum of N147 billion through the issuance of a negative warrant as a result of surpluses found in MDAs personnel cost funds.

The Chairman made the disclosure while addressing the House of Representatives Hearing Committees on Anti-Corruption and Public Service Matters to Investigate the High Level of Corruption on Nominal Rolls of MDAs in the Country.

“In 2019 we reviewed 208 agencies that are funded from the public treasury and we found out that there were huge surpluses of personnel cost after the payment of salaries and wages. Based on these findings, about N42 billion unspent surplus allocation was blocked based on our advisory to government,” the Chairman said.

Continuing, he disclosed that “In 2020, the Commission advised the Hon. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to mop-up N147 billion through what is called the negative warrant to forestall further misapplication of excess funds that we found in MDAs account’’.

Professor Owasanoye added that the fallout of the System Study and Review conducted by ICPC over the years had helped the Commission discover certain information that could help it carry out either preventive or enforcement measures, which would ultimately lead to reforms.

According to him, “Over the years we had conducted system study and review pursuant to Section 6 b-d of the enabling Act of the Commission and what we look at the structure, the administrative, financial, and governance issues in the public sector agencies’’.

‘Of course, this could be extended to the non-public sector agencies but the main focus is the public sector agencies. We look at the systems and the processes not necessarily the persons.” He added.

“The outcome of such reviews always results in some reform measures besides recovery. Sometimes we give advisory to government based on what we have found.” He further said.

While fielding questions from the lawmakers, the ICPC boss spoke on how investigations had implicated the University College Hospital, Ibadan, and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment as being complicit in nominal roll padding.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Co-Chairman of the Committees, Hon. Musa Dachung Bagos who represented the Chairman, House Committee on Anti-Corruption, Hon. Nicholas Shehu Garba, explained that the public hearing was as a result of a motion that was brought before the House of Representatives to investigate nominal roll in all MDAs.

He pledged the commitment of the Green Chamber to take the assignment serious to ensure that Nigerians get value for the funds appropriated by the National Assembly for personnel cost.