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ICPC recovers N16bn from Federal Ministry of Agriculture

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ICPC recovers N16bn from Federal Ministry of Agriculture

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) recovered N16 billion from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in 2020.

ICPC chairperson, Bolaji Owasanoye, disclosed this at the virtual meeting of the 2nd “National Summit on Anti-Corruption in the Public Sector’’.

Mr Owasanoye said that the money was moved under suspicious circumstances below the threshold that would put it within the purview of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

He said that the ministry moved the money into an offline account in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where utilisation will be outside the monitoring purview of GIFMIS.

The theme of the summit was ”Together Against Corruption.”

The summit was organised by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in collaboration with ICPC to mark Nigeria’s Diamond Jubilee and ICPC’s 20th anniversary.

According to Mr Owasanoye, some of the recovered fund was paid into personal accounts, while others were used for non-official purposes.

“While investigation was ongoing albeit delayed due to COVID-19, the bulk of the money restrained in CBN was released in the peak of the pandemic when the ministry appealed to the commission that it needed to make palliatives to Nigerians upon Presidential directives.

“The commission is tracking the prescribed use of the funds up till now,’’ he said

Mr Owasanoye added that the commission discovered that payments were made to agriculture contractors for no job done or over payment for jobs done.

He said some were appropriated to projects owned by private farms of senior civil servant of the ministry.

“One individual from the ministry now deceased, appropriated over N2.5 billion to himself and cronies.”

He said the ICPC was established to investigate and where necessary prosecute corruption related offences and prevent corruption, adding that in its 20 years of existence, it had treated over 20,000 petitions.

Of the 20,000 petitions, Mr Owasanoye said that the commission found 5,000 worthy of investigation and prosecuted about 1,000 of such cases.

He added that ICPC also within the period conducted 582 reviews comprising personnel and capital budget utilisation of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

In his address, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said that the ICPC has come of age and growing in leaps and bounds.

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