In its resolve to tackle corruption in the country as prescribed by the mandate in its enabling law, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has been exploring all options open to it in this regard.
Section 6 (b-d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 vests in the Commission the power to “instruct” and “advice” any Ministry, Department, Agency or any other public body on its corruption-prone processes and to supervise a review of such processes. This function is referred to by the Commission as System Study. To this end, ICPC has been conducting system studies in MDAs and other public bodies.
Interestingly, the studies have been quite revealing. They have indicated systemic dysfunction; inadvertent breaches of regulations; ignorance of proper procedures; and sometimes, willful violation of laid down rules of doing government business by public officials.
ICPC sets a lot of store by these studies on account of the fact that they form a solid tool for its corruption-prevention drive. The Commission also follows up the studies to ensure that the erring public bodies correct the systemic anomalies.
Summary of the System Study Review Conducted on Bwari Area Council
The review covers a three- year period from 2011 through to 2013 and the following inferences were drawn from the study:
- The Council had no functional Anti-Corruption and Transparency Monitoring Unit.
- There was no compliance to the organizational structure as most departments report directly to the Executive Chairman.
- The Area Council also had no mechanism for compliance with FOI Act and most of its responsibilities had been usurped by the Federal Capital Development Authority.
- The Council also surpasses the requirement for number of Supervisory Councillors as it had six instead of five.
- Further findings concerning the systems of the Area Council showed lack of compliance with accounting principles and outright violations of the provisions of the Financial Regulations.
- The Council also lacked proper maintenance of some statutory records including violation of some provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2000.
- It was also discovered that some projects were wrongly sited leading to under-utilization by the beneficiaries.
A Summary of the System Study of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB)
AEPB is saddled with the responsibilities of discharging industrial waste, maintenance of septic tanks and sewage. It also protects the territory against poaching, stray and wandering animals and indiscriminate felling of trees.
Findings from the four-week exercise revealed the following:
- AEPB was not an independent department of FCTA.
- The Board had no operational manual to guide its day-to-day activities.
- AEPB had no public enlightenment platform to educate the public on its activities.
- Some of the out-sourced companies handling the cleaning contracts lacked the basic requirements to handle the job.
Summary of the Report of the System Study and Review of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments
The review was conducted in July 2012 and it was discovered that the Commission had no Governing Board since 2006. Other findings include:
- There was an open lack of internal control and checks because a single officer in Cash Pay Office handled the work of three people.
- There was no absolute division of labour especially in the Account Sections giving room for violation of Financial Regulations.
- It was observed that staff in the out-stations were not paid based on the nominal roll but through a system whereby the headquarters sent money to them indiscriminately.
- All allocations and expenditures on the sub-heads of the vote-book were based on the discretion of the Finance Department of the Commission instead of the annual budget of the federation.
- The findings also showed that the Commission had failed to remit unspent balance of personnel cost for 2009, and the unspent balance of 2010 non-procurement capital to the nation’s treasury.
- The Commission operated two separate accounts for capital expenditure, one with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the non-capital procurement with Zenith Bank.
- It was also discovered that the commission was prompt in its tax remittance as collected from contractors and employees to the appropriate authority.
- The Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit of the Commission did not enjoy support from Management and most of the staff were transferred indiscriminately. It was also discovered that the unit had no office accommodation.
- There was gross violation of procurement process especially in 2011 where contractors with false documents were awarded contracts.
- The review further uncovered the violation of the federal character principle in the recruitment of staff into the Commission in 2009.
- There was no proper coordination between the headquarters and the state offices in terms of documentation of financial transactions, staff salaries and other emoluments.
- In sum, the systems and procedures in place at the Commission were open to abuse.
Summary of System Study of the Directorate of Road Transport Service
- The acts setting up the Directorate is obsolete, with an absence of a Board to supervise its operations.
- The Directorate had no direct control of its responsibilities as it had been usurped by the Transport Secretariat of the FCDA.
- It had no ACTU, no procurement and cash pay unit.
- There was a complete violation of Financial Regulation due to lack of knowledge of sound accounting principles by staff.
- The Directorate employed touts to procure drivers’ licenses for people.
- It was also discovered that there was gross violation of the procurement process, leading to abuse of contract processes.
- There were no clear-cut guidelines for certifying the road-worthiness of vehicles.
- The Directorate also lacked the capacity to handle requests for vehicle plate numbers as they were always in short supply.
- Confiscated vehicles were not properly registered at the auto pond and there were no stickers to detail the offences committed.
- There was no strict adherence to federal character principles in staff recruitment, with accompanying duplication of staff names on personnel payroll.
- Stakeholders’ responses revealed sharp practices in the process of acquisition of vehicle number plate.
- Deductions from the study show a fundamental system failure.