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25 MDAs operating without legal instruments – Report

ICPC Case: Court orders arrest of 3 Rural Electrification Agency account staff for multi-million Naira fraud

Findings by the Ethics and Integrity Compliance Score Card, (EICSC) 2022, on Tuesday, revealed why President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption measures failed to achieve results, saying that 25 agencies have been operating without legal instruments

The EICSC 2022, a federal government audit body, under the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), office, released the reports at the State House on Tuesday noting that the 25 (9.62%) of the 260 MDAs, surveyed, “do not have a legal instrument backing up the establishment of such organisations.”

The report indicated that in an administration that professes to champion anti-corruption, 204 out of 269 MDAs (78.46%) do not have a whistle-blowing policy, while 74 MDAs (28.46%) do not have redress officers and dedicated channels for corruption reportage.

The absence of viable whistleblowing channels does not aid an effective fight against corruption.

It also revealed that 100 MDAs (38.46%)do not have domesticated/professional codes of conduct/ethics with sanctions and 117 MDAs (45.00%) do not have a reward system in place consistent with the requirements of the core values.

The report, therefore, recommended that the “Bureau of Public Procurement – through the strict application of its enabling law, the Public Procurement Act, 2007 should ensure compliance of MDAs to the provisions in the discharge of their procurement responsibilities while observed violations be promptly sanctioned.”

The report revealed that “none of the MDAs assessed attained full compliance”, adding that “211 MDAs (81.15%) do not encourage system study/corruption risk assessment needed to prevent corruption in MDAS.

Out of the number (260), 90MDAs or (34.62%) did not render annual Audited reports to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) within the last five months of 2022.

This is even as 83 MDAs (31.92%) did not submit audited reports for the last three, 101 MDAs (38.85%) did not procure their external auditors in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007.

“86 MDAs (33.08%) and 109 MDAs (41.92%) did not conduct an annual needs assessment and market surveys respectively in contravention of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007.

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“129 MDAs (49.62%) are shown not to respond timely to requests from stakeholders.

The report indicated, however, that “out of the 260 assessed, 61 MDAs (23%) had substantial compliance, 120 MDAs (46.15%) had partial compliance, 63 MDAs (24.23%) had poor compliance, while 64 MDAS were no-responsive”

Under the main indication of the Administrative System, a substantial number of MDAs performed below average attainable with 168 MDAs

The report went further to show that 39 MDAs (15%) do not have instruments for the establishment of a governing board/council while 59 MDAs do not have a board in place.

The report noted that the absence of such a law to back up the establishment of a Board is a grave lacuna which may give room for excessive discretionary powers to the presiding Chief Executive Officer heading the organization

“Likewise, MDAs who do not have a board in place in violation of the establishment Act also promote a situation of abuse of power for the Chief Executive since the Board ought to serve as a check on the activities of the Management in the administration of the Organisation

“124 MDAs (47.69%) also lacked training plans in place, while 123 MDAs (47.31%) did not undertake ethics and compliance training in the year under review, while 114 MDAS (43.83% did not train procurement officers on ethics and compliance within the period under review.

It also noted that the absence of such continuous training on Ethical provisions can be said to contribute to the abuse of ethical standards by the start of organisations.

The EICSC said they should institute urgent measures to ensure that public bodies without a legal instrument or establishment law have relevant laws enacted for them to enable the realisation of their mandate.

This is just as it advised the MDAs on the essence and imperative of adopting and displaying their vision, mission and core values in appropriate media for public and general information MDAs are advised to produce. adopt. communicate and enforce codes of ethics/ conducts incorporating policies on professional ethics, and guides on acceptance of gifts, donations, and hospitality to reduce and mitigate corruption within the MDAs.

On public sector corruption, the EICSC revealed that 92 MDAs (35.38%) scored above the average attainable

Analysis of the Sub-Indicators under Administrative Systems shows
that 142 MDAs (54.62%) scored below average under the Ethics and ComplianceEducation, 218 MDAs (83.85%) scored below average under Complaints and Whistleblowing, 185 MDAs (71.15%) scored below average under Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU).

These sub-indicators are the main drivers of anti-corruption policies in MDAs.

“Under Financial Management Systems, 231 MDAs (88.84%) scored high above the “average attainable score”.

The body, however, attributed this to the reforms and introduction of e-platforms for financial transactions such as the GIFMIS, IPPIS, TSA etc which MDAs have fully complied with in their financial transactions.

It also revealed however that 74 MDAs (28.46%) out of the 260 MDAs do not have ACTUs in place (inaugurated and inducted).

The assessment revealed that the Executive Management which is critical in organisations’ structural management and supervision for driving service delivery have MDAs performing within average with a 50.0% performance rating.

“167 MDAs (64.23%) don’t have a system for staff to sign as having read and understood their organisation’s core values, mission and vision including where such values exist. This deficiency may further promote staff indifference to the core values, vision and mission of the organisation.

“134 MDAs (51.54%)do not have policies regarding acceptance of gifts, donations, hospitals etc and in 81 MDAs (31.12%), there are no systems for the enforcement of such policies. The absence of domesticated policies on gifts and hospitality is a serious corruption vulnerability which may promote unethical practices by the staff of such organisations.

“85 MDAs (32.69%) of the 260 assessed do not have a strategic plan showing that such organisations are being run without any clear-cut means of monitoring and evaluating their achievements and failures in relation to their mandate.

As part of measures to correct these anomalies in the public service system, the body recommended that government should implement consistent reforms and upgrading of its digital revenue and payment platforms including the TSA, GIFMIS, IPPIS etc to safeguard it from activities of hackers, fraudsters, intruders and guarantee its integrity in the wake of increasing violations of these platforms.

It also advised the MDAs to “prioritise ethics and compliance education for the personnel, institute whistleblowing and compliant mechanism to tackle emerging challenges at work and promptly established Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU where none exists.

“Public entities should formulate and implement training and retrain- ing policies in the key areas of organizational culture, financial and administrative management systems to enhance their performances, leading to increased productivity and improved quality service delivery driven by optimal ethics and integrity standards.

It also called on the federal government to enhance enforcement of the statutory provisions on the rendering of periodic and annual audited reports by MDAs to theOffice of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OuGF) and the Public Account Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly by swiftly applying commensurate sanctions in the applicable statutes.