Press release: Center Commends ICPC for Uncovering N400bn Budget Padding, N50bn Ghost Workers’ Salaries, Demands Swift Prosecution of Culpable Officers

The Center for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CeFTIW) commends the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over its oversight role that led to the uncovering of N400 billion worth of projects padded in the 2021 and 2022 appropriations.

The Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye made this disclosure during an interactive session with the Senate Committee on Finance in preparation for the 2023 budget at the National Assembly, and added that its preemptive move has also saved the country an estimated N50 billion for salaries of ghost workers put on fictitious payroll by the fraudulent MDAs between January and June this year.

“N300bn would have been wasted by the federal government on duplicated projects inserted into the 2021 budget and N100bn for same purpose in the current fiscal year if not tracked and intercepted by ICPC. 

“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’s gratifying that the Finance Ministry and Accountant General Office cooperated with us,” Owasanoye was reported to have said.

While the Center welcomes this move by the Commission, it equally urged for more preemptive actions by anti-corruption agencies to address infractions by MDAs and salvage the nation’s economy which is currently on a precipice according to a recent state of the economy report by the Ministry of Finance.

Although the ICPC boss disclosed that the names of MDAs involved in these acts of corruption would be released to the Committee, we equally demand that these names be publicized for public scrutiny. Public officers who are found to be culpable should immediately be prosecuted to serve as deterrence.

The nation’s history with fiscal imprudence, amidst dwindling revenue, is one that continues to be a source of concern; the Center seizes this opportunity to call on stakeholders to strengthen mechanisms that promote transparency and accountability in the public sector.

Victor Agi

Head, Public Affairs

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