ICPC Parleys With Professional Bodies On National Ethics

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs
A logo of ICPC

 

The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN has charged Professional Associations (PAs) and Business Membership Organisations (BMOs) to imbibe the 7 core values of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy (NEIP) in the discharge of their duties, as they play a pivotal role in the implementation.

Owasanoye gave this charge in his welcome address at a one-day webinar organized by the Commission titled: Creating Partnership with BMOs and PAs on the Implementation of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy.

The ICPC Boss who was represented by Hon. Board Member Mrs. Olubukola Balogun, said that the event was aimed at resuscitating the core values contained in the policy adding that so much was expected from them, as drivers of the economy, for the successful implementation and sustainability of the policy.

He encouraged PAs to make moves to enforce the ethics of their profession by punishing erring members and rewarding those found to be honest and impeccable.

He further advised participants to actively contribute to discussions so that they can play the role expected of them in the implementation of the policy.

In his opening remarks, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) Dr. Garba Abari said the event was important as issues surrounding ethics and integrity in the country needed to be addressed.

READ ALSO: Abducted Zamfara College Provost Regains Freedom

He stated that the impact of collapsed values not only affected national development objectives, but also affects every aspect of our lives.

He recommended that BMOs and PAs looked hard at their code of conduct with a special focus on the ethics of their profession and ensure that it was effective and, where need be, refer to the NEIP for guidance.

Abari went further to encourage participants to apply what they would learn from the event such that every aspect of their work and life would feel a positive impact.

The NOA DG called on civil society groups, religious groups, the family and school systems to rise up to expectations so as to bring the nation back on course to ethical standards and integrity in all spheres.

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata in a goodwill message said the NEIP was a welcome development, adding that ethics was a core strength in the NBA as the association ensures that lawyers abide by the code of the profession.

The NBA president, who was represented by Okechukwu Uzoechi, urged participants to make concerted efforts to ensure that the erosion of ethics which has risen to a worrisome level, is fixed.

Also in her goodwill message, the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Mrs. Comfort Olu Eyitayo, who was represented by Ifeoma Okwuosa stated that without probity and integrity, Nigeria would be in trouble.

She also revealed that ICAN was happy to be part of the event as “Accuracy and Integrity” was their motto. She, therefore, pledged that the association would continue to maintain integrity in the discharge of their duties.

The opening ceremony was followed by a technical session chaired by Hon. Board Member, ICPC, Mrs. Hannatu Mohammed. Setting the tone for discussions, she explained that the session aimed to educate the participants on the policy as well as highlight the important roles they play in building the society.

In his paper presentation titled: Overview of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy, lead presenter, Director Public Enlightenment, and Education Department of ICPC, Mr. Ashiru Baba, fsi said the policy was aimed at promoting the 7 core values and hoped that participants would imbibe them as a way of life so as to minimize corruption drastically.

He added that the policy was targeted at all Nigerians across the country and advised the participants to enforce the ethics of their profession while working closely with Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs) to report erring officers.

The spokesperson for the Commission, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, was the first discussant and in her presentation titled: Workplan and Consequence Management Template of the NEIP, informed participants that the template was designed to set benchmarks for the implementation of the policy.

She also said that the template addressed pain points that hindered professionals from having integrity and prescribed incentives for compliance.

Discussing the Role of Professional Associations in the Implementation of NEIP, CEO Convention on Business Integrity, Mr. Soji Apampa, said that the implementation of the policy could not be done by ICPC alone.

He highlighted how corruption risks could be detected, to what extent, and how they can be prevented while stating that compliance and the ability to get it lay in the hands of the association and its members.

The last discussant at the event, President National Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), QS Mohammed Abba Tor, in his paper titled: Embracing NEIP: the Role of Professional Associations; Challenges and Prospects said the key challenge when it comes to policies in the code of conduct in PAs is enforcement.

The NIQS president who was represented by the Deputy President, Mr. Olayemi Shonubi, advised PAs to begin to name and shame erring officers as a deterrent for corrupt persons as well as hold their members accountable.

He also suggested that the NEIP be infused into the curriculum of institutions of learning and training academies.

The plenary session was interactive as participants sent in their questions and suggestions, and these were responded to. Some of the participants who spoke during the session include Mr. Denja Abdullahi, Engr. Olumoh Sharafadeen, Paul Anavhe, Jr. Friday Udo, etc.

Alleged N2.8bn Fraud: Court Grants Ex-Surveyor General Awudu N100m Bail

Logo of a court gavel

 

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama on Monday granted N100 million bail to the former Surveyor-General of the Federation, Ebisintei Awudu.

Awudu was arraigned before Justice Olusegun Adeniyi, on a 22-count charge of fraud.

He is accused to have awarded multiple contracts worth over N2 billion to a company in which he was a director and shareholder as well as to relation and associates.

The former Surveyor General was also said to have received over N300m as gratification from a contractor executing different contracts for the Office of Surveyor-General of the Federation.

READ ALSO: Alleged Unlawful Defection: PDP Urges Court To Sack Zamfara Governor

Upon arraignment, Awudu pleaded not guilty to all counts.

F.B Olorogun, the defendant’s counsel, urged the court to grant bail to his client.

Ruling on the application, Justice Adeniyi granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100 million. Awudu was also asked to produce a surety who must be a director-general or a permanent.

The Judge also remanded the defendant in ICPC custody pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.  The case has been adjourned to September 13 for the commencement of trial.

Alleged Fraud: Court Grants Bail To Ex-JAMB Registrar Professor Ojerinde

 

Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court in Abuja has granted bail to the former Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Adedibu Ojerinde.

The bail granted was in the sum of 200 million naira (N200,000,000) and two sureties in like sum, who also must be resident in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to Justice Egwuatu, one of the sureties must be a professor in a Federal University, and the other, a property owner in Abuja.

The residences of the sureties must be verified by the prosecution, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

While adjourning the case to the 22nd of July for trial, the judge ordered that the former registrar deposits his international passport with the court.

Professor Ojerinde is facing an 18 count charge where he is accused of complicity in the diversion of public funds estimated at over 5.2 billion naira

Arrest Over ‘Multiple Frauds’

Earlier in March, ICPC announced that the Commission had arrested Ojerinde (at the time) for allegedly misappropriating N900 million.

He is said to have committed multiple frauds while heading JAMB and the National Examination Council (NECO).

Ojerinde was also purported to have awarded contracts for the supply of pencil and eraser at the cost of N450 million each, to Double 07 Concept Limited and Pristine Global Concept Limited, respectively, between 2013 and 2014 while heading JAMB.

In a statement posted on the commission’s website, Ojerinde was arrested and is being held on a remand warrant.

Alleged Fraud: Ex-JAMB Registrar Ojerinde Arraigned, Remanded In Custody

File photo of Former JAMB registar, Dibu Ojerinde.

 

Former Registrar of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Dibu Ojerinde was on Tuesday arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja and remanded at Suleja correctional facility.

Ojerinde is being prosecuted for corruption by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

He was arraigned on an 18-count of alleged involvement in N5.2billion fraud.

READ ALSO: Igboho: No Law Allows Arrest At Dead Of Night – Falana

The trial judge, Justice Obiora Egwuatu during the hearing turned down the oral application for bail by defence counsel, P.O Olorunishola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

ICPC’s prosecuting lawyer, Ebenezer Shogunle also opposed the defence lawyer’s submission.

Justice Egwuatu, then ordered that the JAMB boss be remanded at a correctional facility, pending the hearing of his bail application on Thursday, July 8.

 

 

Arrest Over ‘Multiple Frauds’

Earlier in March, ICPC announced that the Commission had arrested Ojerinde (at the time) for allegedly misappropriating N900 million.

He is alleged to have committed multiple frauds while heading JAMB and the National Examination Council (NECO).

Ojerinde was also alleged to have awarded contracts for the supply of pencil and eraser at the cost of N450 million each, to Double 07 Concept Limited and Pristine Global Concept Limited, respectively, between 2013 and 2014 while heading JAMB.

In a statement posted on the commission’s website, Ojerinde was arrested and being held on a remand warrant.

Osinbajo Blames Corruption For Poor Contract Negotiations In Nigeria

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, addresses a crowd of APC youths at the International Conference Centre in Abuja on June 21, 2021.

 

Emperor Simon, Abuja

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday blamed corruption and lack of transparency, among other factors, for poor contract negotiations in Nigeria.

The Vice President made the comment while addressing a two-day capacity building workshop for negotiators.

The workshop, organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in Abuja, seeks to help Nigeria improve its terms of engagement with the rest of the world as part of efforts to stem illicit financial flows.

Vice-President Osinbajo cited the P&ID case and the Strategic Alliance Contract case where Nigeria is at risk of losing billions of dollars due to poor and shrewd negotiations of the contracts.

He called for proper negotiation by Nigeria in the ongoing discussion on climate change which he says should put into consideration Nigeria’s peculiar economic situation and needs of the citizens.

Prioritise Assets Recovery At Regional, Global Levels, Owasanoye Counsels African Govts

 

The Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has advised African governments to prioritize the recovery of assets at domestic, regional, and global levels, including the return of artworks and artifacts.

Owasanoye gave this counsel on Tuesday during a virtual Commonwealth regional conference for anti-corruption agencies in Africa.

Presenting a paper titled “Understanding the Common African Position on Asset Recovery (CAPAR)”, the ICPC boss noted that the prioritization of recovery of assets at the domestic, regional and global levels had become necessary to facilitate the recovery of African assets.

“In Nigeria, precisely Benin, Edo State, two major artifacts have been returned while the country has recovered between $600 million and $700 million assets in the last six years,” he said.

He advocated the strengthening of legal and financial institutions to further aid the process of asset recovery.

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This, according to him, should include the establishment of funds, trusts, and dedicated African escrow accounts to be held by regional financial institutions.

The ICPC chairman stated that Africa could not eradicate poverty or meet sustainable development goals without improving domestic resource mobilization, adding that domestic resource mobilisation was being hampered by corruption and illicit financial flows.

“The reality on the ground is that domestic resource mobilisation cannot improve if corruption is not diminished; illicit financial flow from the continent is not reversed, and fiscal governance from revenue and expenditure sides is not improved.

“We need to reverse the anomaly of Africa being a net creditor to the world yet burdened by debt,” he stated.

On the Common African Position on Asset Recovery (CAPAR), Prof. Owasanoye said the policy and advocacy instrument was to assist Africa to identify, repatriate and effectively manage assets while respecting the sovereignty of member-states.

He urged African countries to ensure accountability, transparency, and measures to boost public confidence in the management of recovered assets including monitoring of use by the civil society organisations and the media.

In addition, the ICPC boss called for the adoption of a policy on the use of recovered assets for development goals or implementation of any other social investment project as deemed fit by member-states.

In her remarks at the conference, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, emphasised the need for African countries to tackle corruption, noting that social and economic resources were increasingly stretched.

“Corruption leads to illicit financial flows. Africa has lost $1.26 trillion to illicit financial flows while $50 billion is lost annually by the continent.

“Corruption and illicit financial flows need to be brought to the front burner as they have continued to pose an enormous challenge to the continent,” Scotland said.

The Commonwealth secretary-general urged the anti-corruption agencies to strengthen their oversight function.

“We need to continue to improve and strengthen our capacities. We, at the Commonwealth Secretariat, will greatly work with member countries to realise that goal as well as the United Nations Development Goals,” she added.

ICPC Has Aligned Strategic Plan With NACS, Says Owasanoye

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has aligned its 2019 – 2023 Strategic Plan with the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS).

The ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, made the disclosure while briefing members of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, on the level of ICPC’s implementation of NACs in Abuja.

Prof. Owasanoye stated that the ICPC had incorporated 40 key activities of the NACS 2017-2021 into its Strategic Action Plan.

He said, “With the assistance of the RoLAC, ICPC held a strategic workshop to review the implementation of its 2013 – 2017 Strategic Plan and come up with a new strategy that would align with the spirit and letters of the NACS.

” Consequently, 40 activities were identified from NACS Action Plan. These activities were subsumed into 32 activities in the ICPC Strategic Plan 2019 – 2023.

“Also, 36 activities were identified for development of policies and manuals to help the Commission achieve its core mandates, thus making a total of 68 Strategic Activities in ICPC Operational Plan.”

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The ICPC chairman further noted that the major policy NACS anticipated was the National Ethics and Integrity Policy which, according to him, ICPC had succeeded in facilitating, and was adopted by the Federal Executive Council in 2020.

On the five pillars of NACS, which cover prevention, enforcement, governance issues, asset tracing, recovery and management, and citizens’ engagement, Owasanoye informed the Senate Committee of ICPC’s ongoing effort to sensitize the Nigerian citizens on the National Ethics and Integrity Policy.

“Awareness has been conducted in North-East, North-West, and North Central, while that of South West is currently taking place,” he added.

The ICPC boss also disclosed that the Commission had deployed the Ethics Compliance Scorecard to evaluate Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for service delivery in addition to the volume of system study and review exercises, corruption risk assessments, and Anti-Corruption and Transparency Units (ACTUs) which, he noted, were making a significant impact.

On asset tracing, recovery and management, he stated, “for us in ICPC we have a full-blown department that deals with this. All recovered assets are carefully documented and updated monthly. They are also being strategically applied and categorized whether they are under interim forfeiture or final forfeiture.”

The ICPC chairman advocated a standardized template for all anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) as part of measures to enhance performance in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

The Committee was also briefed on the giant strides the Commission was making in the area of enforcement.

In his welcome remarks, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Suleiman Abdu Kwari, explained that the briefing became necessary in order to take stock of the successes recorded in the implementation of various objectives of NACS.

Senator Kwari added, ‘We are here to identify the activities, action plan and the progress made so far. If there are any constraints, speak up so that we can find ways and means to provide remediation.’

“By the end of this exercise we should be able to provide a clear picture of where we are actually and produce a report which will guide implementation on the next step,” he concluded.

It is worthy of note to state that NACS is one of programmes adopted by Nigeria to strengthen anti-corruption reforms by exposing and driving out the culture of corruption in the country.

Man Who Married Buhari’s Daughter Declared Wanted Over $65m Fraud

Yau Gimba Kumo (C) is wanted, alongside Mr. Tarry Rufus and Mr. Bola Ogunsola. Credit: ICPC
Yau Gimba Kumo (C) is wanted, alongside Mr. Tarry Rufus and Mr. Bola Ogunsola. Credit: ICPC

 

A man who married President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter in 2016 has been declared wanted by the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The anti-corruption agency, in a notice posted to its website, said Yau Gimba Kumo is wanted, alongside Mr. Tarry Rufus and Mr. Bola Ogunsola, “in connection with issues bordering on misappropriation of National Housing Funds and diversion” of $65 million.”

Mr. Kumo was a former Managing Director of Mortgage Bank.

He reportedly married Fatima Buhari in 2016, in a wedding ceremony that took place in the President’s hometown of Daura.

READ ALSO: Buhari Mourns ‘Legendary General’ Joshua Dogonyaro

Present at the wedding were the then Governors of Gombe, Ibrahim Dankwambo, and his counterpart from Bauchi, Muhammad Abubakar.

“Anyone who has useful information on their whereabouts should report to ICPC Headquarters Abuja, any of the ICPC State Offices or the nearest police station, or call ICPC toll-free lines: 0803-123-0280, 0803-123-0281, 0803-123-0282, 0705-699-0190, 0705-699-0191 and 0800-CALL-ICPC (0800-2255-4272) or send an email to [email protected],” the notice signed by ICPC spokesman, Azuka Ogugua, said.

President Buhari was elected in 2015 after campaigning to fight corruption in Nigeria, among other promises.

ICPC, Finance Ministry Move To Reduce Cost Of Governance

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs
A logo of ICPC

 

 

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, has requested the assistance of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to help in reducing the high cost of governance in the public sector.

She said this at a Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Cost of Governance in Nigeria organised by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN) the training and research arm of ICPC at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

Mrs. Ahmed, in her address, revealed that the need for the reduction of cost of governance was in compliance with the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari, to review government payroll.

In her words, “while working to increase revenue, we will work to reduce the high cost of governance and I am glad that ICPC is taking this initiative as its natural mandate is to prevent corruption”.

The Minister stressed that while it was important to enforce the laws prohibiting corruption, the second most important thing was to prevent corruption from happening.

She revealed that her Ministry had designed a strategic revenue initiative that was aimed at solving the problem of revenue deficiency by expanding revenue sources, and also reducing cost by alternating processes that give room for corruption such as IPPIS, GIFMIS.

She also stated that a transparency portal had been launched to provide access to citizens to view transactions from agencies and monitor how the government was performing its transactions.

Ahmed said she will work with relevant agencies of government to cut down on unnecessary expenditures so that limited resources can be used for important projects.

In his opening address, ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, said that the high cost of governance was fueled partially by corruption, and by incompetence and waste in the governance structure and processes of the nation.

He highlighted some areas of concern that are undergoing investigation and the scrutiny of the Commission to include diversion of savings from budgetary allocations to things like COVID-19 palliatives without authorization, payroll padding, and the phenomenon of ghost workers, as well as project duplication.

The ICPC boss urged citizens to become watchdogs of projects in their communities noting that ICPC was working with the Budget Office to track funding of such projects.

He further explained that “policy dialogues of this nature were meant to deliberate on issues that focus on more systemic and institutional improvements, which also should be sustainable regardless of changes in political administration”.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who was represented by Permanent Secretary David Adejo, said that the federal government was determined to reduce the cost of governance through the harmonization of MDAs.

The SGF who declared the event open added that the government had adopted measures such as IPPIS, GIFMIS to ensure that cost of governance does not increase to the detriment of the people.

In his goodwill message, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan who spoke through the Chairman Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption, Senator Suleiman Abdu Kwari decried the increase in corruption despite concerted efforts being made to stem it.

He said more needed to be done which required critical and systemic thinking to arrest the situation.

He commended the untiring effort of ICPC in the pursuit of its mandate while pledging the continued support of the legislature to the Commission to ensure the achievement of her mandate.

On her part, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan, who was represented by Mr. D. O. Omogo said they were committed to the efforts of the government to reduce cost at all levels.

She said that HOCSF appraised the conditions of service of all government agencies to be in line with all extant rules thereby giving them a significant role to play in reducing the cost of governance.

Mrs. Yemi-Esan also revealed that the Office of the HOCSF had in place a Performance Management System and Electronic Content Management to ensure that all activities were captured electronically.

In his keynote, the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, observed that yearly budget performance report at all levels of government showed a higher recurrent expenditure which called for a cut down especially as sources of revenue has waned.

Mr. Akabueze proffered some solutions to the issue of the high cost of governance such as the amendment of the Constitution to restructure the federation into six regions instead of 36 states; the reduction of federal ministries from 27 to 20; and staff salaries to be consolidated and harmonized.

The technical session featured a discussion on the role of the media & civil society organisations, by the representative of Ahmed Isa, Ordinary President, Human Rights Radio (Brekete Family), Dr. Iyke Ezeugo.

He charged the media to demand accountability using their platforms and prowess and advised CSOs to hold rallies to achieve results when faced with impunity.

He also called on the media to use their platforms to give voice to helpless victims of corruption saying, “the biggest healer of corruption is an exposure of the wound which the media can do”.

Mr. Soji Apampa, CEO, Convention on Business Integrity in his presentation on the role of the Private Sector, said the private sector was as much a part of the problem as it was of the solution, and explained that the role of the private sector in corruption could be found in the subversion of public regulation.

At the same time, even the private sector that aids and abets corruption suffer disproportionately from the high cost of governance especially SMEs.

Mr. Apampa opined that Standard Operating Procedures; Consequence Management framework; and a public feedback mechanism were some of the measures that when put in place and enforced, could lead to a reduction in corruption even with the same actors.

He further noted that the National Ethics and Integrity Policy by ICPC have given, for the first time, a common standard that everyone could be held accountable to.

The moderator of the session, Prof. Uche Uwaleke suggested that the whistle-blower policy should be strengthened, and the protection of informants be treated seriously.

He also said the Efficiency Unit which worked with the private sector should also be strengthened and given legal backing.

Senior Research Fellow, ACAN, Prof. Isaac N. Obasi while presenting highlights of draft policy considerations on corruption and cost of governance recommended a drastic reduction of high overhead expenditure in order to curtail the prevailing high fiscal deficit; review of the cost-intensive aspects of Nigeria’s presidential system of government without losing the quality of checks and balances and proportional representation.

He also recommended that the federal government lead by example by urgently introducing new cost-cutting measures that would put on hold the proliferation of institutions on a competitive geopolitical basis.

In his closing remarks, the Acting Provost of ACAN, Prof. Tunde Babawale said that the country would make significant progress if the wasteful practices of public officials such as duplication of functions of MDAs, embezzlement of public funds, kickbacks from contracts, procurement fraud, diversion of public funds into private hands can be curbed.

He assured that the Academy will produce a policy brief from the robust discussions made at the event, meant to proffer solutions to specific problems that confront Nigeria.

The dialogue is the first of a two-pronged dialogue session planned for the year 2021 held both physically and virtually.

ICPC Does Not Spend Recovered Funds, Says Owasanoye

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs
A logo of ICPC

 

 

The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has said that all monies recovered and generated by the Commission were paid into the coffers of the federal government.

Owasanoye, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance, investigating the activities of revenue-generating agencies of the government, in Abuja, told the Committee that ICPC has no retention powers over funds or assets recovered from corrupt people.

He said that the Commission has a designated account for the recovery of proceeds of crime called ‘ICPC Recovery Account’ into which all recovered funds were paid for onward payment into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government once there were no encumbrances.

“ICPC was not contemplated as a revenue-generating agency. In the course of our work, we do recover funds, however, ICPC does not spend recovered assets. We do not use part of it for our work.”

The Chairman while responding further to the Committee mentioned that rather than spend money illegally, the Commission has helped to boost the tax revenue of the government by bringing defaulters to book.

According to him, “When we investigate, we also look at the tax components and bring defaulters into the tax net which goes straight to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.”

Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, had expressed concern that Nigeria’s national budget was becoming too dependent on loans partly due to non-compliance to financial regulations by government revenue generating agencies.

He said that the purpose of the investigative hearing was to ensure that all government revenue-generating agencies comply with the Fiscal Responsibility Act which stipulates that 80 percent of the operational surplus be paid into the CRF.

He said, “The revenue generating agencies of the government have taken solace and pleasure in diverting government’s money, taking care of frivolous expenditure and making provision in audited accounts that are fictitious in nature. The 2021 budget is to the deficit of N6 trillion, government cannot continue this way.”

Defaulters: ICPC Drags 2,000 Firms Into Tax Net

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs
A logo of ICPC

 

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has dragged about 2,000 corporate entities into the country’s tax net, the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has revealed.

He made this known on Tuesday in Abuja while responding to questions from journalists at the end of a capacity building for ICPC investigators on investigating Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) held at the corporate headquarters of the Commission.

Prof. Owasanoye disclosed that the 2,000 corporate entities were uncovered by investigations undertaken by the Commission, and their names have been forwarded to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for profiling.

“Some of these entities are not registered and do not pay tax while others are registered but still do not pay tax. The ICPC has been able to recover significant amount in taxes for the government,” he said.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the ICPC Chairman stated that the capacity building programme would help investigators to track illicit financial flows, money laundering and other areas the government is losing revenue and recover such funds.

“The loss of revenue is a major challenge to developing countries, particularly Nigeria. The meeting is therefore designed to build the capacity of our investigators to enable them to trace the areas in which the government is losing money, look for the likely places people hide money, stop the illicit financial flows, and recover the funds.

“We are already working with the FIRS and getting a lot of tax evaders and defaulters into the nation’s tax net. One of the takeaways from here is the kind of question an investigator needs to ask in tracking IFFs and money laundering,” Prof. Owasanoye explained.

He stressed the need to widen the revenue base, improve tax collection, combat tax evasion and illicit financial flows as well as asset recovery to improve the country’s finances.

The Chairman of Inter-Agency Committee on Stopping IFFs from Nigeria, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, assured that the committee was working assiduously to curb the menace from the country.

“We know the challenge and negative impact of IFFs in Nigeria and Africa. The Federal Government established the committee towards promoting financial transparency and accountability and in line with the recommendations of the findings of a high-level Africa Union Panel on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) led by the former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, include coordinating and tracking progress in stemming illicit financial flows from Nigeria.

“The Committee is establishing cooperation amongst relevant agencies in order to substantially reduce and eventually eliminate illicit financial flows from Nigeria, make recommendations to the Federal Government on required improvements in legislation, rules and processes for the purposes of tackling illicit financial flows from Nigeria amongst others.”

He advised African countries to build the capacity of their investigators in tracking illicit financial flows in order to curb annual loss of revenue.

The capacity building forum witnessed paper presentations by three resource persons including an Associate Fellow of Chatham House, Matthew Page; Prof. Melvin Ayogu of Emory University, and Matthew Gbonjubola of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

In his paper presentation titled “IFFs through the Real Estate and Education Sectors: Implications for Investigators”, Matthew Page urged the investigators of the ICPC to pay attention to real estate and education sectors-linked illicit financial flows.

He noted that IFFs have provided opportunities for politically exposed persons (PEPs) in Nigeria to launder money through real estate and education sectors.

“Most of the properties held by Nigerian politicians in London and Dubai are held by proxies, family and shell companies. Over 800 properties worth over $400 million have been linked to Nigerian PEPs,” Page said.

Afegbua Asks EFCC, ICPC To Probe PDP Over Alleged Corruption

A filoe photo of a former spokesman for PDP Presidential Campaign Council in the 2019 general elections, Mr Kassin Afebgua.

 

A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kassim Afegbua, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe the party’s leadership.

He visited the offices of the anti-corruption agencies on Monday to submit his petition and asked them to look into the financial transactions of the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, in the spirit of transparency, accountability, and book-keeping, in line with the existing anti-corruption laws.

Afegbua, a former spokesman for the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, alleged that much of the financial transactions of the PDP under its present leadership have been shrouded in mystery and accused the leadership of a deliberate attempt to short-change the party in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.

In the petition, he asked the anti-graft agencies to look into and scrutinise close to N10 billion that allegedly accrued to the party’s purse from 2017 till date, especially those that were as a result of sales of nomination forms for presidential, governorship, House of Assembly, and senatorial elections.

As an opposition party, the PDP member stressed the need for the party’s leadership to lead by example by ensuring that there was transparency and accountability.

He accused Secondus of not living up to the expectations of strengthening the party to play its formidable role as a virile opposition party.

Afegbua alleged that the national chairman avoided the use of the party’s bank accounts and used one Morufu Nigeria Limited as a conduit pipe for financial mismanagement in the sales of forms in 2019.

Describing the alleged action as an aberration, he called on the EFCC and ICPC chairmen to urgently ensure that due diligence was carried out to safeguard Nigeria’s democracy and guarantee the interest of the party’s members.

The PDP member stated that should the anti-graft agencies delay in carrying out their investigations, he would have no option but to seek legal redress in the court.