The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has declared that the N13.59 trillion 2021 budget was padded by the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies ( MDAs), with duplicated projects to the tune of N300 billion.
The anti-graft agency also disclosed that project duplication worth about N100billion was also inserted into the 2022 budget by some MDAs aside from N49.9billion tracked as salaries for ghost workers between January and June this year.
These revelations on the intercepted corrupt plans by the affected MDAs were made by ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye during an interaction with the Senate Committee on Finance in preparation for the 2023 budget.
According to the ICPC boss, the N300 billion duplicated projects in the 2021 budget and N100 billion in the 2022 budget were tracked through thorough scrutinization carried out on approved projects for the various MDAs.
” N300billion would have been wasted by the Federal government on duplicated projects inserted into the 2021 budget and N100 billion for the same purpose in the current fiscal year if not tracked and intercepted by ICPC,” Owasanoye said.
“The same pre-emptive move, saved the country from spending N49.9billion for salaries of ghost workers put on fictitious payroll by the fraudulent MDAs between January and June this year.
“Names of MDAs involved in projects duplications running into intercepted billions of naira and fictitious payrolls, are available and will be forwarded to the committee.
“The good thing about the pre-emptive moves made by us is that monies for the fraudulent acts were prevented from being released to the affected MDAs and it is gratifying that the Finance Ministry and Accountant General Office cooperated with us.”
He advised relevant committees of the National Assembly to be on the lookout for such project duplication in the proposed N19.76trillion 2023 budget.
“From our own end, detection of such projects is done by verifying their locations and names, upon which we tell the appropriate authorities not to release wrongly budgeted monies for them, ” the ICPC boss added.
Impressed by the submission, the Committee through its Chairman, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola ( APC Lagos West ), said the operational cost of the agency will be increased from N1.8billion in the coming 2023 budget.
“This committee is impressed by the proactive ways your commission is adopting in the fight against corruption,” Adeola said.
“Your submissions clearly show that all hope is not lost for our dear country as far as fighting corruption is concerned.
” Your operational cost which is N1.8billion will be increased as required for more proactive measures against corrupt practices across the various MDAs”, he said.
The finance committee’s sitting continues on Friday.