COVID-19: ICPC Sets Up Team To Monitor Spending Of Donated Funds

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has set up an independent team to monitor expenditures from the COVID-19 Special Intervention Funds.

Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, a spokesperson for the anti-graft agency, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

She noted that the ICPC set up the COVID-19 Funds Monitoring Team in the execution of its preventive mandate in Section 6 (b)-(d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

According to the commission’s spokesperson, the team is to prevent possible financial abuses that may arise in the management of the funds.

She explained that the team would monitor the disbursement and utilisation of the funds, donations, and other receipts mobilised towards combating the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

Okoduwa added that the team would deploy the appropriate strategy to prevent incidences of corruption that may have a negative impact on the efforts of the government to deal effectively with the pandemic.

She stressed that the team’s work would complement the efforts of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 with regards to transparency and accountability in the management of the funds.

The ICPC spokesperson warned those involved in the management chain of the COVID-19 response to avoid actions that could result in any criminal investigation.

“While the Commission salutes all those in the frontline of battling the outbreak and everyone facilitating the national effort behind the scene, it hereby reiterates its earlier advisory to all actors in the management chain of the COVID-19 response to steer clear of all unethical and corrupt acts that could result in criminal investigation and consequences,” the statement said.

PEBEC, ICPC Collaborate To Prosecute Corrupt Public Officials

 

The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has partnered with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate and prosecute public officials and civil servants accused of corrupt practices.

This was disclosed by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who presided over the meeting of PEBEC at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Prof Osinbajo said the direct connection between the agencies will help in achieving the Federal Government’s reform agenda, especially regarding all government MDAs regulating business environment responsibilities.

“There is a lot of talk about high-level corruption and some public officials stealing money, etc; but I think for average Nigerians, the point of contact is really this sort of approvals for ID cards, for passports, customs, officials, police, and so on.”

READ ALSO: Court Fixes March 27 For Judgement In $54,000 Forfeiture Case

 

 

He stressed that complaints from Nigerians regarding activities and practices in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) bordering on suspected corruption and deliberate stalling of reform efforts submitted on the REPORTGOV.NG portal of PEBEC will be investigated by the ICPC.

“I think that if this collaboration is robust enough, we will be able to kill two birds with one stone; first is improving our Ease of Doing Business, second is our anti-corruption ranking internationally because some of the rankings is a perception index. So, people are simply asked, what is your perception about corruption in Nigeria?

“So, if we work on these issues, we can really do a lot in terms of improving the image of the country, not just in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, but also in terms of the perception of corruption”.

The meeting had in attendance, top government officials including the Ministers of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo; the Ag. Head of Service, Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan.

Others include Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd); Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammed Babandede; and other senior government officials.

Court Orders Arrest Of Ex-Customs Boss, Dikko

Mr Abdullahi Dikko

 

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the arrest of a former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu issued a bench warrant for Dikko’s arrest, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa who is the spokesperson for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said in a statement on Monday.

The judge noted that the order was necessary to ensure the former Customs boss appear in court to take his plea on the next adjourned date for his arraignment by the ICPC.

This followed an application brought by ICPC’s prosecution counsel, E. Shogunle, when another scheduled arraignment could not hold due to the absence of Dikko in court.

Justice Ojukwu granted the commission’s prayer over the continued failure of the former comptroller-general to show up in court for his arraignment.

While ordering Dikko’s arrest, she noted that his lawyer who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Solomon Akuma, had assured the court on the last adjourned date that his client was going to be present in court.

She wondered that Akuma only turned around to present a medical report claiming that his client was critically ill and on admission in London.

The judge, however, ruled that the execution of the warrant should be suspended if it was discovered that the accused was actually ill and receiving treatment in a London hospital.

If otherwise, she ordered the prosecution to arrest Dikko and produce him in court on March 16, which is the next adjourned date for arraignment.

The former Customs boss is facing multiple charges alongside two others – Garba Makarfi and Umar Husseini.

The charges border on allegedly defrauding the Managing Director of Cambial Limited, Mr Yemi Obadeyi, of a sum of N1.1 billion.

Sokoto Director Arraigned For Allegedly Issuing Fake Scholarship Letters

A file photo of Mohammad Yusuf.

 

 

A Deputy Director with the Sokoto State Scholarship Board (SSSB), Mohammad Yusuf, has been arraigned before the State High Court in Sokoto.

Yusuf was arraigned before Justice Muhammad Muhammad over alleged forgery on Thursday by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

He was charged with three counts for allegedly signing and issuing forged scholarship sponsorship letters to three students who used the same to secure entry visas to the United Kingdom from the British High Commission in Abuja.

The offence is said to be contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

ICPC’s prosecution counsel, Mashkur Salisu, told the court that the accused, who is serving as the Deputy Director in charge of International Student Matters of the SSSB, deliberately made a false statement to an officer of the British High Commission through the misleading documents.

According to him, the offence also contravenes Section 25(1)(b) and punishable under Section 25(1)(b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

One of the counts read, “That you Muhammad Buhari Yusuf on or about the month of September 2018 or thereabouts in Sokoto within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to cause damage to the public forged a scholarship sponsorship letter of the Sokoto State and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 348 and punishable under Section 349 of the Sokoto Penal Code of Law, 2019.”

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against him.

The defence counsels, Nuhu Aminu and Faruk Abdullahi, then prayed the court to grant bail to their client on liberal terms.

Counsel to ICPC did not object to the bail application.

He, however, urged that the court grant the bail with reasonable sureties that would ensure the attendance of the accused at his trial.

Justice Muhammad, thereafter, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100,000 and a surety who must be on Grade Level 15 in the Sokoto State Civil Service with landed property.

He also adjourned the case until March 12 for the commencement of hearing.

FIIRO Boss Did Not Complete PhD, ICPC Report Reveals

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has said that Mr Chima Igwe did not complete his doctorate programme.

Igwe, the acting Director-General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), has been engulfed in an alleged certificate scandal recently.

On its part, ICPC cleared the air in its report released on Sunday following an investigation into the claims that the FIIRO boss did not qualify to head the agency.

Workers at the agency had reportedly protested recently against the purported preferential treatment of Igwe, who was said to have gotten several promotions based on an attestation letter indicating he attended the Universite d’Abomey-Calavi, Benin Republic, and obtained a PhD.

He was appointed as the acting Director-General of FIIRO in May 2019, allegedly against the will of the governing board over the controversy surrounding the degree.

ICPC’s report read:

To clear the air and fulfil its pledge to make public its findings on the matter, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) hereby places on public record the outcome of its further investigations.

The Commission re-opened investigations into the status of Mr Igwe’s pursuit of a PhD degree on the 3rd of  December, 2019 upon the  discovery of certain gaps, occasioned by ambiguity in the letters from University D’Abomey Calavi, Republic of Benin, language differences and translation of documents, in the earlier investigation.

In the course of its further investigation, the ambiguity and confusing language translation issue again reared its head when the institution, in its letter to the Nigerian Mission in Benin dated 22nd January 2020, which stated as translated that ‘…Mr. Chima Carthney Igwe has completed his three-year doctoral programme”, yet the same correspondence further stated that Mr Igwe had not publicly defended his doctoral thesis and the institution was giving him a chance, at his request, to re-register and update his research results in the current 2019-2020 academic year.

It stands to reason, therefore, that if the PhD programme was concluded there would have been no need to request re-registration by Mr. Igwe.

Although it was confirmed that Mr. Igwe did the required three years for the programme from 1999 to 2002 and wrote a thesis, the Commission is firmly of the opinion that he cannot be said to have been awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree since he is yet to complete the process of defence of his thesis in the 18 years after he is said to have finished the course work.

By global standards, the successful defence of a thesis is a compulsory condition for the award of a PhD.

Therefore, in line with its avowed commitment to discharging its duties with professionalism and responsibility the Commission has since communicated its most recent findings and position to the relevant authorities for necessary action.

How ICPC Recovered Stolen Assets Worth N77billion In 2019

ICPC Logo

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it recovered N77.04 billion worth of stolen assets in 2019.

This was revealed in an infographic posted on the official Twitter handle of the anti-corruption agency over the weekend revealing the 2019 activities of the commission.

The infographic shows that the amount was recovered through operations, interim and final forfeitures on court orders on persons accused of corruption in 2019.

READ ALSO: Man Arrested Over Attempt To Kill Wife

“The Commission recovered assets worth N77.04billion; part of which were, N1.16billion cash in TSA; N32.038billion in lands and buildings; N41.98billion surplus on Personnel Cost, restrained from being spent by MDAs; N0.767billion from Constituency Projects tracking; N1.097billion, the value of completed projects on the return of contractors to site,” a post by the anti-graft agency revealed.

The spokesperson for the commission, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa also announced this figure during the presentation of 2019 Performance of the ICPC at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

She explained that out of the 1, 934 petitions received within the year under review only 580 were concluded.

Also, 25 convictions were secured out of the 83 cases filed in court.

The Commission according to her conducted 510 sensitisations, tracked 424 projects in 12 states, reviewed the Personnel and Capital expenditure of 201 MDAs and inaugurated 69 Anti-Corruption Units.

 

Below is the infographic representation showing ICPC’s performance in 2019:

Image

Correction Official Bags Four-Year Jail Term For Job Scam

 

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Gwagwalada, has sentenced an officer with the Kuje Correctional Centre, Ahmed Abdu, to a four-year jail term for engaging in employment scam.

Abdu was charged before the court in 2014 by the Independent Corrupt
Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for defrauding
one Adamu Abubakar of N250, 000.

While handing down the sentence, Justice Abubakar Kutigi said
it would deter other government officials that may want to take
advantage of the unemployment situation in the country to defraud
unsuspecting job seekers.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest 75 Suspects Linked To Lagos Cult Killings

He was also said to have collected the same amount from five other
persons to get them employed into any of Nigeria Immigration Service,
Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Nigerian Correctional
Service, and signed an undertaking to refund the money if he failed to
deliver.

ICPC, in a two-count, told the court that the convict used his
position as a public officer to hoodwink his victims into paying money
for jobs that did not exist.

Prior to the sentencing, Abdu who was not represented by a counsel,
pleaded with the court to be lenient with him, adding that he was a
first-time offender, as well as, the first child of his family with a very large number of dependants.

Counsel to ICPC, Ngozi Onwuka, in her submission, prayed the court to
direct Abdu to make restitution by refunding the monies he collected
from other victims to them.

Justice Kutigi, in his ruling, said that even though the court was
mindful of Abdu’s plea for leniency, he was only allowed to apply the
dictates of the extant laws upon which he was charged.

He said that the facts before the court had shown a consistent trait of
the convict using his position as a public officer to lure unsuspecting job seekers to pay for non-existent jobs.

He, therefore, sentenced him to four years imprisonment – two years on
each count – with no option of fine, and that the sentences would run
concurrently.

Alleged Corruption: ICPC Arraigns Ex-Court Registrar, Wife Over Litigant’s N80m

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned a former staff of the Judiciary, Mr Joseph Udoh, and his wife over allegations of money laundering.

Udoh, a former registrar with the Kaduna Division of the Federal High Court and his wife, Mrs Grace, were arraigned before Justice Mallong Hoommuck on 12 counts.

In a statement on Sunday, ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said Udoh was alleged to have misappropriated an amount exceeding N80 million from the money that had been deposited in the court by a litigant.

He reportedly issued cheques in the name of his wife who was also a staff of the court but in Abuja, and used the money to acquire properties in some major cities across the country.

READ ALSO: I Am Alive And Bubbling – IBB

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

Their counsel, S. M. Essienakak, informed the court that they had served the prosecution with a bail application and prayed the court to grant his clients bail on non-stringent conditions.

Essienakak gave assurance that the couple would not evade bail.

But counsel to ICPC, Shehu Yahaya, strongly opposed to the bail application on the grounds that the attitude of the defendants suggested that if they were granted bail, they might interfere with the processes.

He informed the court that four of the witnesses to be called by the prosecution were members of staff of the Kaduna Division of the court, where one of the defendants had served as a registrar.

After listening to arguments of counsel on both sides Justice Hoommuck granted the defendants bail in the sum of N10 million.

He also asked them to provide two sureties in like sum who must be members of the legal profession and must own properties in a Government Reserved Area (GRA) in Kaduna.

The judge, thereafter, adjourned the matter until January 28, 29, and 30, 2020, for the continuation of hearing.

IPPIS: Health, Tertiary Institutions ‘Worst Culprits’ As FG Saves N18bn

ICPC spokesperson, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa.

 

 

The Federal Government has intensified the fight against corruption through the enforcement of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

This comes as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said it has saved the government over N18 billion through the system.

“We’ve saved about N18 billion right now that we told the government, in the words of my chairman, ‘restrain the money,” said ICPC spokesperson, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Yet To Benefit From N1trn Constituency Projects, Says Buhari

Okoduwa, the Director of Public Enlightenment at the anti-graft agency, made the disclosure on Tuesday during her appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

She noted that some Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) that were not on IPPIS have been made to join the scheme as a result of the development.

 

The ICPC spokesperson stressed, “It is even more than N18 billion right now. The Ministry of Finance is capturing them now on IPPIS but their personnel expenditure alone, we’ve restrained over N18 billion.”

She recalled that the agency launched its System Study Review at the national summit on ‘Diminishing Corruption in the Public Service’ which held in Abuja on November 19.

The report, she noted, identified some health and education institutions as the worst culprits in padding budgets allocated to payment of personnel’s salaries.

Okoduwa highlighted a situation where the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Bayelsa had over N900 million as surplus in its salary purse.

She explained that the case was flagged while the management team of the centre was summoned to clarify the rationale behind the surplus uncovered.

 

The Worst Culprits

The ICPC official revealed that the team gave the excuse that the personnel cost was inflated in order to execute projects which the government could not approve for the FMC.

She said, “Within January to July, you are still having balances on your salaries, how come? Because ordinarily, you should have exhausted your salary if you paid everybody and nobody complained you didn’t pay them.

“How come all of a sudden you are having N30 million, N50 million left on your salary may be for a particular MDA? It shows you had padded your nominal roll ab initio and you have paid those who are actually on the ground.”

“For example, they’ve been drawing down on such monies and using them for travels when they are not supposed to use that.

“ICPC, in doing that, brought out the report that health institutions, universities… they are the worst culprits,” she stated.

Okoduwa stressed that the activities and functions of the ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were not just backed by policies but rooted in law.

According to her, the system study conducted by ICPC is to follow up with institutions that fall in the partially-compliant and non-compliant categories to ensure there are noticeable changes.

The ICPC spokesperson said where such changes were not seen, the agency would impose a new system on erring individuals and agencies before the enforcement stage and make it criminal.

She added that the study has had effects on the MDAs as their heads and some ministers in other cases approached the ICPC on how to correct their wrongs.

ICPC Arraigns Two For N4.7billion Fraud In Benue

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs

 

 

Two officials of the Benue State Government, Mr. Stephen Amase, Principal Private Secretary to the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and Mr. Manger T Emmanuel, a former Commissioner of Works and presently, Special Adviser, Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, Benue State have been arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) before the Benue State High Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State and presided over by Justice S.O Itodo.

The duo were arraigned for conferring unfair advantage upon themselves and for holding indirect private interest in a contract valued at N4,766,858,449.63(Four billion seven hundred and sixty-six million eight hundred and fifty-eight thousand four hundred and forty-nine naira, sixty-three kobo) only, an offence which contravenes Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

READ ALSO: Mama ‘Boko Haram’ Held Over 66m Fraud

The prosecution counsel for ICPC, Mr. G. O Iwuagwu informed the Judge that sometime in March 2016, the first accused person, Mr. Stephen Amase while being a public servant as the Principal Private Secretary to the Governor of Benue State, conferred unfair advantage upon himself by using his position to secure the award of a contract to Tongyi New International Construction Limited for the sum of N4,766,858,445.63, from the government he is serving, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Iwuagwu also told the Judge that the second accused person, Mr. Manger T.Emmanuel conspired with the Principal Private Secretary by using his position to award a contract to an unqualified company Tongyi New International Construction Limited for the sum of N4,766,858,445.63, in a deliberate act of misleading the State Tenders Board and State Executive Council in the award of the contract, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The counts were read and the accused persons pleaded not guilty, the defence counsel, Mr. C. A. K. Asheka, SAN made application for their bail, which was not opposed by the prosecution counsel.

Justice Itodo granted them bail in the sum of N10,000,000 with one surety each of not less than grade level 16 and serving with the Benue State Government. The sureties are to deposit evidence of ownership of landed property within Makurdi metropolis.

The case was adjourned to 5th, 6th and 7th of February, 2020 for further hearing.

Ministries Of Foreign Affairs, Justice Got N5.6bn In 2019 Budget – ICPC

 

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said that both the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice had the sum of N5.6 billion inserted in the 2019 budget for the execution of zonal intervention projects.

ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, at a media roundtable in Abuja, to promote the ‘My Constituency, My Project’ initiative of the Commission revealed that a breakdown of the 2019 allocation for zonal interventional projects shows that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) would spend N2.9 billion on constituency projects.

Owasanoye added that the allocation of N2.7 billion to the Ministry of Justice in the same budget brings to the fore, some of the anomalies surrounding the implementation of constituency projects across the country.

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He was concerned that constituency projects, which principally were projects and empowerment programmes designed to bring development to rural communities within the country had been included the budgets of MFA and other non-relevant ministries and agencies.

According to him, “What is constituency project doing in Foreign Affairs? We will ask questions with this kind of allocation.”

The ICPC boss further revealed that only about 60 percent of constituency projects have been completed with a lot of them executed in shoddy ways due to poor technical designs, impositions and other sundry irregularities.

He stressed that the Commission would not give up on tracking of constituency projects as long as the government kept funding them and therefore called on local communities to own the projects for themselves.

Professor Owasanoye also called for the handover of zonal intervention projects to local government authorities upon completion for effective maintenance and sustainability of the projects.

He said, “If somebody had nominated a project and succeeded in getting the project to the community, it is not the duty of the person to maintain it. Communities need to understand that it was public funds that was used. They need to take ownership. We recommend that the project needs to be handed over to the local government for the community to take over.”

The Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Dr. Garba Abari, who was also at the round table called for citizens’ participation in constituency projects.

Abari noted that the active involvement of the communities in the planning and execution of constituency projects would remove the issues of corruption and abuse.

He stressed that such ownership would ensure that contractors do not use substandard materials for the projects as well as ensure that completed projects were not vandalized when handed over.

Ibadan Polytechnic Examiner Bags 20-Year Jail Term For Malpractice

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs

 

A part-time examiner at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Mr. Olanrewaju Kayode, has been sentenced to a 20-year jail term for committing examination malpractice.

Justice Joyce Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, found Mr. Kayode guilty of all charges preferred against him.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in a statement, said that Mr. Kayode had been arraigned in June 2016 on a 5-count for allegedly collecting sums of money from five students of the institution and attempting to assist them to alter and secure higher examination scores on different scripts written outside the Examination Hall.

READ ALSO: DSS Yet To Release Omoyele Sowore

Mr. Kayode, a part-time examiner assessed and marked students’ examination scripts of the Department of Accountancy at the Polytechnic.

Justice Abdulmalik gave the judgement after ICPC’s Prosecution Counsel, Barrister Aderonke Bisi-Balogun proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Kayode committed all the offences leveled against him.

She stated that the convict was to serve four years jail term on each of the five counts bringing the total to 20 years imprisonment.

“The sentence is to run concurrently commencing from 20th June 2016, the first day of his arrest”, the statement added.