BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

ICPC chair raises alarm over diversion of public funds

Bolaji Owasannoye, the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Thursday raised the alarm over the diversion of public funds in the country.

Owasannoye raised the concern at a two-day capacity-building workshop for members of the House of Representatives committee on anti-corruption in Abuja.

He frowned at the diversion of public funds both in revenue receipts and expenditure and condemned the illicit financial flow, misapplication of funds and budget padding.

ICPC chairman said it was time corruption was confronted headlong, adding that “Nigerians were yet to recognise the death knell that corruption meant,” and warned that if citizens do not deal with the ethical issues of corruption, it would further impact negatively on the country.

Owasannoye noted that Nigeria was never in short supply of anti-corruption legislation but in short supply of integrity, and this had been worsened by high level hypocrisy.

According to him, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Bureau of Public Procurement and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, are all anti-corruption gate keepers.

While observing that most regulatory agencies also played anti-corruption roles, Owasannoye said, “corruption accentuated political patronage” and encourage sabotage of governance, and “funds appropriated on paper, were never used for the purpose for which they were meant.”

Read also: Reps lament pressure of many trust funds on public finances

In his remarks, Shehu Garba, chairman of the House Committee on anti-corruption said the challenge and the fight against corruption had remained a topical issue, adding that the ills of corruption are well documented and Nigerians do not need to be reminded of the consequences.

Garba said corruption denied citizens a promising future and development, adding that it “was heart-warming when the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration made the fight against corruption one of its tasks.”

He said the fight against corruption remained multi-dimensional; involving all institutions, stressing that there would be no success without collaboration, hence information sharing and capacity-building workshops were crucial in the fight against the menace.

Also speaking, Abubakar Suleiman, the director-general, National Institute for Legislative Studies, said corruption fuels instability and conflicts in countries where the social malaise is endemic.

Suleiman said there have been allegations of non-payment of allowances of security operatives, which undermines the fight against insecurity, stressing that, “corruption undermines security and human capacity development.’’

He commended the National Assembly for the continuous building of staff capacity, especially in the area of the fight against corruption seriously, adding that the workshop was important as the current administration winds down.

Marija Peran, the resident representative of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a German political foundation, decried the complex security challenges and corruption in the security sector.

Peran said corruption in the security sector has a detrimental impact, both on security apparatuses and on wider peace and security.

She said the foundation’s core mandate was to strengthen good democratic governance and the rule of law, adding that the fight against corruption was “an integral part of its mandate.”

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