September 25, 2022

MTEF: ICPC exposes how agencies duplicate projects to steal funds

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Crimes Commission (ICPC) Thursday made damning revelations that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government are habitually duplicating projects to siphon public funds.

Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, gave the revelation on Thursday before the Senate Committee on Finance sitting in Abuja.

The anti-graft agency boss explained that the MDAs padded 2021 budget with N300 billion duplicated projects, while

the 2022 budget with N100 billion duplicated projects, adding that the Commission had tracked N49.9 billion ghost workers salary between Jan to June 2022.

Detailing how some Chief Executives perfect their stealing strategy, the ICPC boss disclosed that projects worth N100 billion were inserted into the N17.12 trillion 2022 budget by some MDAs aside N49.9 billion tracked as salary for ghost workers between January and June this year.

He said the commission was able to track the projected slush fund as a result of its thorough scrutiny of approved projects for the various MDAs.

He said they were poised for proactive nipping of their plans rather than allowing funds to be stolen before going after them, stressing that funds already stolen were not easily recovered.

He noted: “The same preemptive move saved the country from spending N49.9 billion for salaries of ghost workers put on fictitious pay rolls by the fraudulent MDAs between January and June this year.

“Names of MDAs involved in project duplications running into intercepted billions of naira and fictitious pay rolls, are available and will be forwarded to the 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 advised relevant committees of the National Assembly to be on the lookout for such project duplication in the proposed N19.76 trillion 2023 budget to be presented by President Muhammadu Buhari anytime soon.

Reacting, the Senate Committee Chairman on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan lamented that leakages and waste has been the biggest challenge the nation has been facing.

He vowed that the parliament would not give up to the antics of fraudsters, noting that they will stop at nothing to ensure that any Chief Executive found culpable was prosecuted.

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