ICPC probes MDAs over COVID-19 intervention funds

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has vowed to investigate some Ministries, Departments and Agencies for infractions on COVID-19 intervention funds and other procurement abuses.

Speaking at the 2022 African Union Anti-Corruption Day, the ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN), stated that the commission had observed discrepancies and infractions in the procurement and payments made by some ministries and agencies after the disbursement of the COVID-19 fund.

He said, “The commission had observed discrepancies and infractions in the procurement and payments made by some ministries and agencies after the released and appropriate disbursement of COVID-19 funds.

“The commission observed that in some instances, the distribution of relief materials or palliatives was chaotic, disorderly and uncoordinated.

“Some implicated MDAs denied the monitoring team the access to their records thereby impeding the successful inquiry into their activities. These MDAs are flagged and will be investigated for breaches and infractions of the law and COVID-19 intervention funds guidelines and other procurement abuses.

“Hoarding and diversion of materials were also common warranting the raids by people in some situations, facilities or locations warehousing palliatives. Some of such also created widespread violence.”

Owasanoye citing media reports also lamented selective distribution, favouritism, nepotism and other biases in the allocation and distribution of palliatives as well as the ‘high jacking’ of palliatives by political actors, their proxies, cronies, and affiliates.

Meanwhile, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), says he is leaving behind a proud legacy of fighting corruption as he concludes his tenure next year.

He also noted that he would continue his anti-corruption quest long after he leaves office.

Buhari, who is “African Anti-Corruption Champion,” also called for the establishment of an International Anti-corruption Court to serve justice to money launderers and stem safe havens.

According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said these in his recorded remark to celebrate the African Day of Anti-Corruption.

The statement is titled ‘On Africa anti-corruption day, President Buhari calls for international anti-corruption court to try offenders.’

Buhari who noted that the fight against corruption must be sustained for the benefit of present and future generations said “Our youths have no place to go and live with dignity but in Africa.

“As I am leaving office next year, I am proud to leave behind a legacy of fighting corruption among others.

“Personally, I abhor corruption and I will render my best in or out office to get rid of corruption in Nigeria and Africa in general. I urge our youths to join me in this noble cause.”

He noted that anti-corruption agencies must be empowered and allowed to deliver on their mandates.

“In Nigeria, I am very proud of our Anti-Corruption Agencies, our law enforcement agencies and our regulatory bodies for their efforts at checking criminality including corruption. I very deeply appreciate them for their sacrifices,” he said.

Describing corruption as “evil” Buhari called for the creation of a special court to intensify efforts towards prosecuting offenders and retrieving resources that had been stolen and stored in other countries.

“Distinguished participants and fellow African leaders, corruption is evil and all efforts at tackling it are desirable. I have monitored the fight against corruption in Africa and I can see both successes and drawbacks.

“The battle must continue for the sake of the continent and its people no matter the difficulties. In Nigeria, the fight against corruption has been vigorous since 2015. A lot has been achieved in the areas of arrest, prosecution, conviction, asset recovery and anti-corruption laws.

“I must admit that the fight has not been a bed of roses. Truly, a lot of more work in many fronts is required. For example, civil and public servants must be ethical and professional at all times. The private sector must contribute in curving corruption. The international community needs to close safe havens. The judiciary requires more impetus. Perhaps, an International Anti-corruption Criminal Court is needed,” he said.

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