The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, yesterday disclosed that civil servant in various Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) padded the 2021 and 2022 budgets.
The 2021 budget which was a total of N13.59 trillion was padded with duplicated projects worth N300 billion. The 2022 budget which is a total of N17.12 trillion was as well infused with duplicated projects worth about N100 billion. The ICPC further stated that a whooping N49.9 billion was paid as salaries to ghost workers between January and June this year.
The chairman of the ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye made these shocking details known during an interaction with the Senate Committee on Finance. The ICPC boss said that these malpractices in the budgets funding were discovered during a scrutinization carried out by the ICPC on the approved projects.
Prof. Owosanoye said “N300 billion would have been wasted by the Federal Government on duplicated projects inserted into the 2021 budget.
“Federal Government would have wasted another N100 billion in the 2022 budget if not tracked and intercepted by the ICPC.”
“The same preemptive move saved the country from spending N49.9 billion for salaries of ghost workers put on fictitious pay roll by some fraudulent officers in the various MDAs between January and June this year.
“The names of the MDAs involved in projects duplications running into intercepted billions of naira and fictitious pay rolls are available and will be forwarded to the (Senate Finance) Committee.
“The good thing about the preemptive 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 said.
He advised relevant committees of the National Assembly to be on the lookout for such project’s duplication in the proposed N19.76 trillion 2023 budget.
“From our own end, the 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,” he added.
Obviously impressed by the submission of the ICPC boss, the chairman of the committee Sen. Solomon Adeola assured Owosanoye that the anti-graft agency’s operational cost would be increased from its current N1.8 billion.
“This committee is impressed by the proactive ways your commission has adopted in the fight against corruption.
“Your submissions clearly show that all hopes are not lost for our dear country as far as fighting corruption is concerned.
“Your operational cost which is N1.8 billion will be increased as required impetus for more proactive measures against corrupt practices across the various MDAs,’’ Adeola said.