The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) revealed yesterday that civil servants in the various Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) padded the 2021 budget, totaling N13.59 trillion, with duplicate projects worth N300 billion.
The anti-graft agency also disclosed that some MDAs duplicated projects worth N100 billion and included them in the N17.12 trillion 2022 budget.
The ICPC further disclosed that whopping N49.9 billion was tracked as salaries paid to ghost workers between January and June this year.–
The Chairman of the anti-corruption agency,
The revelations were made by Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye during a meeting with the Senate Committee on Finance.
The head of the ICPC claimed that the N100 billion in duplicate projects in the 2022 budget and the N300 billion in the 2021 budget were tracked through a careful examination of the projects that were approved for the various MDAs.
If the ICPC hadn’t been tracked down and intercepted, Owasanoye claimed that the federal government would have wasted N300 billion on duplicate projects inserted into the 2021 budget and another N100 billion for the same purpose in the current fiscal year.
The same proactive action prevented the nation from spending N49.9 billion between January and June of this year on the salaries of ghost workers who were falsely added to the payroll by some dishonest officers in the various MDAs.
The (Senate Finance) Committee will receive the names of the MDAs involved in projects duplications involving intercepted billions of naira and fictitious pay rolls.
It was pleasing that the Finance Ministry and Accountant General Office worked with us. “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,” he said.
He advised the National Assembly’s pertinent committees to scan the proposed N19.76 trillion 2023 budget for instances of such project duplication.
He continued, “From our end, the detection of such projects is done by verifying their locations and names, upon which we inform the appropriate authorities not to release wrongly budgeted funds for them.
Evidently encouraged by the ICPC director’s submission, the Senate Committee announced—through its chairman, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), that the agency’s operational expenses would rise from their current N1.8 billion level.
This Committee is impressed by the proactive measures your commission is taking to combat corruption, Adeola said.
“Your submissions amply demonstrate that there is still hope for our beloved nation in the fight against corruption.
“Your operational cost, currently N1.8 billion, will increase to provide the necessary impetus for more aggressive measures against corrupt practices throughout the various MDAs,” the statement reads.