ICPC Explains Facts Behind ‘Bailout Funds Usage Report’

Ekpo Eta, Chairman of ICPC on bailout funds usage report The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in Nigeria on Thursday said it never reported that some States diverted bailout funds.

Giving facts behind the first report of the anti-graft agency on how the bailout funds were used, the Chairman of the ICPC, Mr Ekpo Eta, told Channels Television that the report was given different interpretations by different media houses and individuals.

“Those original publications we released were interpreted in various ways by different media houses and I must say that quite a number did not state clearly what we had spelt out. Most of them added what they thought was what should have happened.

“We had never at any time said that bailout funds were diverted, as it was widely published.

“If you go through the main report, we stated as it was. In some state, the funds were requested for and allotted but they were not used for the purpose.

“The state involved went to the House of Assembly and asked that the funds should be used for other issues since they had paid salaries,” he explained.

Intention Of Bailout Monitoring

Mr Eta stated that the intention of the bailout monitoring was not to run down states, but “it was a governance tool to help them in terms of placement of funds that they have collected”.

“Like I have heard now, some have seen it as something to help bridge the budget but you must explain at every steps what you are doing.

“We saw some payments that were made into some bank accounts. When we requested for details of the transaction, we were told it was used in paying footballers salaries that we had owed for two months,” he explained.


On the outcome of the monitoring process, he said that state’s government officials were much more aware that if they take these bail out funds, they would have to explain to the people how the funds were used.

“Some States have adopted a strategy that had enabled them check the payment of salaries to workers that do not exist [ghost workers],” he further said.

The ICPC boss further stated that the agency would come out with the part two of our report.

Nigeria’s Rebirth Requires Citizens To Make Sacrifices

Eseme-EyibohA former Spokesman of the House of Representatives, Eseme Eyiboh, has urged Nigerians to be ready to make needed sacrifices, as the current government is making efforts to reposition the nation.

Giving his opinion on the current administration’s activities aimed at ensuring the rebirth of Nigeria, Mr Eyiboh said the fight against corruption was a deliberate attempt to jump-start a new thinking that would be able to galvanise Nigerians to take ownership.

“What is fuelling the agitation is the departure from the past to a new thinking.

“Corruption has been able to put Nigeria at a very terrible stage.

“The speed corruption is running in this country is unprecedented and we need speed breakers to be able to minimise this corruption to the barest minimum,” he said.

The former lawmaker also said that the government needed to introduce speed breakers to establish ethical integrity and national consciousness and also grow a thought process that would ignite collective responsibility in Nigerians.

“The speed breaker are needed to minimise corruption.

“In any democratic process there has to be the issue of the rule of law to the extent that every man is equal before the law.

“Corruption cannot go away anywhere in the human community, but the speed breakers will reduce it drastically,” the former spokesman for the House of Representatives stressed.

EFCC Boss Says ‘No Giving Up’ On Fight Against Corruption

Ibrahim-MaguThe fight against corruption in Nigeria may get tougher, as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, says there is ‘no giving up’.

Mr Magu spoke on Monday in Lagos in a meeting with the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh.

He thanked the station for joining in the fight through its balanced news reportage and called for more support.

‘Fight To Finish’

The anti-graft agency’s boss said the EFCC could not assume the monopoly of knowledge in ridding the country of corruption, but stressed the readiness of the agency to go tough on corrupt persons no matter how much attacks it get.

“There are too much talk about the issue of ‘corruption fighting back’. Of course corruption will fight back but we are resolved and determined to win this fight.

“From over 170 million Nigerians, if I am opportuned to drive this thing and in the process I happen to go, so be it.

“We are ready to fight this fight to finish,” he stressed.

Citing some cases that the EFCC is handling, Mr Magu said there were “serious allegations for instance in the case of NIMASA“.

“There was two billion Naira initially when we took him to court but later we realised that he syphoned out of the public fund, about 34 billion Naira. There are reasons for doing what we did. If you come to the office we will show you everything. There is no problem,” he explained.

The anti-graft agency’s boss further stressed that the agency usually carries out a background investigation before inviting the individual to its office for questioning.

“We carry out our background investigation very thoroughly. We may have been on you and you will not know,” he stated.

CBN Will Publish Names Of Treasury Looters Soon – Buhari

Muhammadu-BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari says the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will soon publish the names of officials of the last administration who stole public funds and the amount surrendered to the coffers of the Federal Government.

The President told guests at the 15th session of the Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation Lecture in Abuja on Friday that the CBN had not published the list to avoid jeopardising investigations and further recoveries.

Addressing the gathering on the administration’s fight against corruption, President Buhari gave more revelations on the nation’s stolen funds which had garnered various speculations in the last few months.

According to the President, the war against corruption is gathering momentum.

“As I stated recently, a good number of people who abused their positions are voluntarily returning the illicit funds. I have heard it said that we should disclose the names of the people, and the amount returned.

“Yes, in due course, the Central Bank of Nigeria will make information available to the public on the surrendered funds, but I must remark that it is yet early days, and any disclosure now may jeopardize the possibility of bigger recoveries.

“But we owe Nigerians adequate information, and it shall come in due course. It is part of the collective effort to change our land from the bastion of corruption it currently is, to a place of probity and transparency,” President Buhari explained.

“No Friend, No Foe

He also told the gathering that Nigeria’s rating on the global corruption index had risen rather than dropped.

 

“Quite frankly, the anti-corruption war is not strictly about me as a person, it is about building a country where our children, and the forthcoming generations, can live in peace and prosperity. When you see dilapidated infrastructure round the country, it is often the consequence of corruption.

“Poor healthcare, collapsed education, lack of public utilities, decayed social services, are all products of corruption, as those entrusted with public resources put them in their private pockets. That must stop, if we want a new Nigeria. And that was why I said at another forum that people need not fear me, but they must fear the consequences of their actions.

“Corrupt acts will always be punished, and there will be no friend, no foe. We will strive to do what is fair and just at all times, but people who refuse to embrace probity should have every cause to fear,” the President said, reiterating his commitment to ‘killing corruption’, a promise he made during campaigns.

Another speaker, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Reverend Father Mathew Kukah, also reverberate the President’s views.

Agency Plans Enlightenment On Whistle Blowing To Tackle Corruption

Mike_Omeri2The National Orientation Agency has announced plans to embark on enlightenment campaign at the grassroots to sensitise Nigerians on whistle blowing on issues of procurement processes.

The Director General of the agency, Mr Mike Omeri, who announced the plan in Abuja on Wednesday, said issues of corruption had eaten deep into the nation’s system and required more of whistle blowing than just holding talks on how to end it.

Corruption can affect every sphere of life and if allowed unchecked in any society, it could lead to under-development, Mr Omeri pointed out in a meeting between government officials, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and other stakeholders.

The meeting discussed strategies that would help ensure the eradication of the menace of corruption in the public service, especially in procurement processes.

An Assistant Commissioner with the ICPC, Sola Sodipo, stressed that while fighting corruption involved the cooperation of everyone, public servants should watch out for some early warning signals and also blow whistles.

Issues of how to combat corruption in Nigeria has taken centre stage at various meetings, showing the commitment of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to tackling corruption in Nigeria.

President Buhari has made it clear that his mission is to stamp out corruption in Nigeria, saying he will like to be remembered as a Nigerian that fought corruption to a standstill.

Fight Against Corruption Is Uncoordinated And Nonstrategic – Omolayole

OmolayoleA Policy Analyst says that the fight against corruption in Nigeria, is uncoordinated, nonstrategic and has no policy.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Gbenga Omolayole, said that “what is happening in Nigeria is like a bull fight, the cow boy is riding a bull and the people are applauding him.

“Is it the bull that will eventually fall or the man riding it?” he asked.

The fight is like a media war. You don’t fight war on the pages of newspaper, Mr Omolayole stated while maintaining that the government must be prepared to take constructive criticism and advice.

Speaking about the need to enlighten the people in order to curb corruption, he said that there had to be a form of campaign to educate the people on corruption.

Mr Omolayole, however, addressed the issue, based on both short and long term measures.

Speaking about the short term measures, he said the judiciary must try cases of corruption via courts while the issue of immunity clause, civil service, among others must be reconsidered.

“All the short term measures that might serve as conflict to the constitution must be addressed constitutionally.

“Let us re-energise and restructure the agencies created to fight corruption so as to achieve results,” he stressed.

Speaking about the long term measures, he said: “Our constitution is designed to encourage corruption because the preamble of the constitution is untrue”.

He further said that Nigeria was not practicing true federalism and that federalism was too expensive for Nigeria.

“What I will recommend for Nigeria is the semi presidential system of government that is being practiced in France,” he concluded.

Nigerian Government Tasked On Sanctioning Corrupt Public Servants

 

Professor Akin Oyebode stressed the need for corrupt public servants to be punished.
Professor Akin Oyebode stressed the need for corrupt public servants to be punished.

Nigerian leaders have been asked to reel out the appropriate sanctions to those who engage in corrupt practices if the country is to make progress in its anti-graft campaign.

Participants at the third Nigerian Governors’ Forum taking place in Lagos, Nigeria’s south-west region, emphasised that sanctioning corrupt public servants would make others desist from such acts.

A professor of international law, Professor Akin Oyebode, says the entire Nigeria populace must join in the anti-graft fight.

“Once there is general agreement regarding what can be considered unacceptable conduct, it will be a short step towards proscribing stiff and severe penalty for whoever breaks the “‘eleventh commandment’.

“As we all know, our God decreed 10 commandments to humanity, but the eleventh is the most important commandment, ‘thou shall not be found out’.  If people get away with corrupt practices they can now pontificate in a sanctimonious manner about propriety in the society. But what we have lacked, in my view, is the sense of punishment and what has thrived is the notion of impunity.

He pointed out that it was not corruption that is as much the problem as the failure of the society to punish those who have been found corrupt.

The former chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, Justice Musthapha Akanbi, tasked politicians on ensuring that they give priority to the fight against corruption.

Justice Akanbi said that all efforts must be backed by a commitment from the leadership, adding that the people must at all times be part of the struggle to fight corruption.

The Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, also emphasised the need for Nigerians to join in the fight against corruption by discouraging extravagant life style and imbibe the right values.

He said that such practice would help reduce corruption in Nigeria.

“I have very serious doubt whether it is possible to prevent corruption. When you look globally I don’t know any nation that has dismantled her systems – the police the courts – because they have prevented corruption.

My perspective therefore is about reducing the incidence of corruption. When we reward people for work not done, we grant national honour to people who have demonstrated no honour. I can be in one part of the country doing something totally unconnected with what is happening in my state and I become a permanent secretary, without being at work and 20 billion dollars suddenly gets missing, then the police who should be the one in charge of securing all these actually have their own pockets picked because their own pension is stolen? And all seems to just be well. I cannot contemplate what will happen next.

“It is a question now of values. A society where people spray money and step on money, I think that that is a mind-set that raises question. If you can step on your own sweat, something is wrong,” the Lagos State Governor said.

A re-examining of the value system, he said, is key to solving the problem of corruption in Nigeria. 

 

 

Nigeria’s Anti-graft Agency In Attitudinal Change Campaign

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), has stressed the need for Nigerians to change their attitude to reduce the level of corruption which has placed the country among the most corrupt nations of the world

The ICPC coordinator in charge of Oyo and Ogun States, Mr Olusesan Olukile, told a gathering of students from both public and private secondary schools in Abeokuta that youths should be at the vanguard of the war against corruption.

Mr Olukile also urged the students to always maintain a high level of integrity.

At the Sunday event, which was a public lecture organized by private sector and civil organizations, students were selected from both private and public schools in the state and are being enlisted as agents  of change in the onerous task of reducing corruption which has continued to slow down the pace of development

Delivering his paper at the occasion, the Provost of the Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta, Dr Ayodele Ajayi, called on the political class to provide the much needed ‘political will’ towards fighting corruption ,especially as the country moved towards another political dispensation come 2015.

Analysts have stressed the need to intensify the fight against corruption through anti-corruption campaigns aimed at changing the perception of the youths about corrupt activities.

Anti-corruption agencies were also tasked on the promotion of equality of citizens in the fight against corruption.