President Muhammadu Buhari has beaten his chest that his government has successfully dealt a blow on budget padding used by the legislators in the past as conduit pipe to siphon the nation’s financial resources.
He commended the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) for being one of the vehicles in achieving the feat, through Tracking of Constituency and Executive Projects.
The President spoke today, January 27, through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha at a high-level stakeholders conference on the theme: Fighting Corruption in Nigeria: The Past, the Present and the Future. The conference was convened by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC).
Buhari said that constituency projects used to be “conduit pipe” for self-aggrandizement but that with the intervention of ICPC, a lot is being done to ensure that both the government and constituents have value for money appropriated.
“Today, there is a rebirth of the National Assembly as the issue of budget padding has been addressed, resulting in the initiation and completion of constituency and Federal Government projects nationwide.
“I must commend the ICPC for tracking constituency projects because in the past, was a major conduit pipe.”
The President also spoke on how his effort at checkmating corruption led to the recovery of huge resources, which were directed towards critical and physical infrastructure such as roads, rail lines, bridges, airports, seaports in order to boast the economy.
He tasked the Anti-Corruption Agencies to concentrate more on asset recovery regime in order to deny looters the proceeds of their crime.
This was even as the ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye said that the surveillance of constituencies by the ICPC has forced many contractors who hitherto abandoned projects or executed projects shoddily to mobilize back to sites to either complete such projects or ensure their excellent execution.
The ICPC boss, who was represented by the Director of System Study and Review Department (SSRD), Abbia Udofia, spoke against the backdrop of constant abuse of personnel costs of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
He said that through its system study and review intervention, the Commission retrieved huge sums of money in billions of naira that would have been diverted.
He listed other initiatives such as Corruption Risk Assessment, National Ethics and Integrity Policy, National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector and the Public Service Integrity Award among other interventions that yielded positive result in the fight against corruption.