*NSA says N4bn bank charges blocked by TSA
The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has called for proactive prevention measures and a review of extant procurement practices for greater success in the fight against corruption, and by extension, insecurity in Nigeria.
Prof. Owasanoye, who also gave examples of how massive corruption was fueling insecurity in Nigeria, spoke at the National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Insecurity in Nigeria, organized by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN) the research & training arm of ICPC, at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
He pointed out that the Policy dialogue was aimed at “identifying the drivers of corruption-induced and corruption-enhanced insecurity in Nigeria; internal mechanisms within agencies that can enhance capacity for fighting corruption; system-wide approaches for institutionalising anti-corruption and corruption prevention measures; and to recommend approaches for tackling corruption-induced insecurity in Nigeria”
Noting that corruption was a major contributory factor to the existence of insecurity in Nigeria, he also called for a collaboration between security, law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies as research findings by the Commission reveal a correlation between public sector corruption and insecurity.
The Chairman cited examples of ongoing investigations into military contracts. “Recently, ICPC arrested a military contractor that received over a period of less than ten years cumulative sum of about N6 Billion from the Nigerian Army in suspicious circumstances and in violation of extant legislation. The Commission’s recovery … from the premises of the contractor underscore the corruption that often attend military procurement”.
‘Some former military and security personnel are being investigated by ICPC. For example, a former head of one of the arms of the military in the twilight of his tenure deposited the sum of N4 billion from military budget into the accounts of two companies where he is beneficial owner and sole signatory.
‘The proceeds were used to purchase properties in Abuja in the names of cronies and proxies. Some of the properties paid for by his service were also fraudulently converted to his use.
‘Another case under investigation is theft of part of special intervention fund approved for security operations by some civil servants in the line ministry who transferred about N1 billion to four shell companies.
“A special investigative team under the leadership of NSA and ICPC recovered some of the diverted assets including state of the art building located in Abuja and over N220 million cash. Investigation in this matter is still on going.”
The ICPC boss noted that the dialogue would enable the Commission, in collaboration with the security and other government agencies, traditional and religious institutions come up with workable anti-corruption and security policy to end insecurity in Nigeria.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Retired Major General Babagana Mungonu, who was present at the dialogue, noted that insecurity has taken a toll on governance and public financing as a result of corruption in the security sector.
He said government’s interventions through the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) has drastically reduced corruption in the public sector.
He said, “The current implementation of TSA in all MDAs of federal government has resulted in the consolidation of more than 17000 bank accounts leading to the saving of N4 billion in bank charges.
‘Furthermore, the functions and integration of IPPIS and BVN has led to the discovery of 54000 fraudulent payrolls in the pension scheme.”
The NSA who commended some of the tools deployed by ICPC to tackle corruption in government ministries and departments advised for a refocus on the root causes of corruption to enable a corrupt-free Nigeria.
The President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, who declared the dialogue opened, lamented that insecurity has affected economic growth and good governance in the country.
He said that the situation has stopped rich individuals from investing in the country as well as huge loss of Foreign Direct Investments.
The Senate President advocated for joint efforts by citizens and government departments alike, to tackle the problem of corruption noting that the anti-corruption fight cannot be left for ICPC alone.
The Chief of Defense Staff, Lieutenant General Lucky Irabo, in his goodwill message observed that there cannot be any meaningful development in the country until corruption was fought to a standstill.
He added that the evolving nature of corruption has made it difficult for ICPC alone to fight the menace, stressing that the military would continue to support the Commission in tackling corruption.
Also in his goodwill message, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Ayuba Wabba, pointed out that corruption was the reason for Nigeria been named the poverty capital of the world in 2016 by the World Bank.
He expressed the commitment of Nigerian workers to the fight against corruption, decrying that few corrupt Nigerians had given the nation a bad image.
Also present at the National Policy Dialogue were the Emir of Keffi, Dr. Mohammadu Chindo Yabusa, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and representatives of the Ministers of Defense and Police Affairs.
The Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Dr. Garba Abari and the representatives of the Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum and the Inspector General of Police were at the event.