Legal Nigeria

ICPC traces ₦219.8b allocation across 176 MDAs over five years

The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) said it has uncovered a startling revelation over the allocation and management of public funds in Nigeria.

At a press conference held in Lagos on Tuesday, April 30, the ICPC chairman, Musa Adamu Aliyu, disclosed that the commission, through its Constituency and Executive projects Tracking Group (CEPTG), has meticulously tracked a total sum of ₦219.844 billion disbursed to 176 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) since 2019.

Aliyu emphasised the importance of directing government funds towards impactful projects that serve the most vulnerable segments of the population. 

According to him, the tracking exercise, spanning critical sectors such as education, agriculture, healthcare, and infrastructure, has covered 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) across all six geopolitical zones.

“This initiative ensures government funds are directed towards impactful projects that benefit the most vulnerable Nigerians,” he said.

The ongoing Phase 6 exercise, initiated in November 2023 and extending through the first quarter of 2024, focuses on scrutinizing projects in the Health, Agriculture, Education, Water Resources, and Power sectors. 

With 1,721 government-funded projects under review, the commission has uncovered various infractions, including underperformance, shoddy execution, abandonment, and premature certification of incomplete projects.

Among the most alarming discoveries are instances of hoarding empowerment projects intended to alleviate poverty among the populace.

However, relevant MDAs have been directed to invite ICPC for monitoring the distribution of such projects to ensure transparency and accountability.

“The commission is conducting further investigations on some infractions discovered, which are: Under performed projects; Shoddily executed projects; Abandoned projects; Certification of projects as completed when such projects have not been completed.

“Hording of projects such as empowerment projects meant to be distributed to intended beneficiaries to empower them or serve to alleviate their poverty were hoarded, while some other items were distributed through proxies.

“It was observed that some agencies were in the habit of handing over empowerment items to stakeholders for onward distribution to the intended beneficiaries.

“This practice encouraged hoarding and politicization of the empowerment sharing processes.

“To stem the tide of empowerment items being converted to personal use or for personal aggrandisement, and to engender value for money on government funds as well as for impactful socio-economic development of the citizenry, relevant MDAs have been mandated to invite ICPC to monitor the distribution of empowerment items on their budget,” Aliyu said.

Key findings from the Phase 6 Tracking Exercise include projects where contractors returned to sites 176, appropriations for all tracked projects ₦220 billion, contract value of all projects tracked ₦285 billion, value of projects on which contractors returned to sites ₦30 billion, cash recoveries made (so far)₦163 million, recoveries made in assets (so far) ₦513.3 million, cumulative savings to government: ₦30 billion and contractors/companies involved 1,355. 

In addition to its scrutiny of development projects, ICPC has extended its purview to the maritime sector, conducting a corruption risk assessment of key Nigerian seaports.

The assessment has led to the implementation of measures aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability, including standardized operating procedures, a port service support portal, and a Nigerian Port Process Manual.

The enforcement team, Ports Standing Task Team (PSTT), has been instrumental in effecting positive changes, resulting in improved port efficiency, streamlined operations, and the dismantling of corruption networks causing traffic congestion, particularly at Apapa and Tin-Can ports.

Chairman Aliyu affirmed ICPC’s commitment to combatting corrupt practices in the public sector while emphasizing the importance of support from all stakeholders, including the media.

 He assured Nigerians that ICPC remains dedicated to upholding the rule of law and international best practices in its enforcement mandate.

The ICPC’s vigilant pursuit of transparency and accountability underscores the importance of robust oversight mechanisms to safeguard public funds and ensure their effective utilization for the betterment of Nigerian society.

Source: The Nation