The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), which is currently probing constituency projects executed by National Assembly members across the nation, hinted On Saturday that its findings would shock Nigerians.
The commission said its investigation has already exposed some shady deals. The ICPC Commissioner in Edo State, Mr. Yusuf Olatunji cited the state as an example where, according to him, a project was awarded to one contractor twice with no job done.
He spoke at a town hall meeting organised by Social Action with support from the MacArthur Foundation on Promoting accountable governance through tracking of Constituency and public projects implementation.
He said the findings of the agency on all abandoned and constituency projects would soon be made public. He said those found culpable would be prosecuted. According to him, “Just last week, we discovered another contract which we have not made public and we are still working on it to know how true it is. I cannot tell you for now but the commission will make public the outcome of all the constituency projects tracking.
“The idea to investigate the constituency projects, is not to witch hunt anybody. The idea is to examine what they have done with our money.
“Constituency projects have been a major channel through which public funds are being siphoned.”
He lamented that the commission is bedeviled with acute shortage of man-power.
Chief of Staff to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Mr. Taiwo Akerele, who was represented by the Special Adviser to the governor, Strategic Planning and Programme Management Office, Mrs. Uyi .J. Oduwa-Malaka, said the government set up the office to checkmate corruption.
In our last edition, we reported how some current and old members of the House of Representatives had been kicking over the ongoing probe of their handling of constituency projects by the ICPC and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.
The politicians fear that the findings of the two agencies in states already visited may cost them their reputation and militate against the continuity of constituency projects.
We reported that they were plotting to force the hands of the agencies to discontinue the probes midway.
Sources familiar with the development said that but for the restraint being exercised by the leadership of the Green Chambers in dabbling into the matter, the anti-graft agencies, especially the ICPC, would have been stampeded into halting the ongoing probe of constituency projects in 12 states of the federation.
The ICPC in June began the first phase of investigation of alleged fraudulent procurement practices in the award of over N15bn contracts for constituency and other projects in 12 states of the six geo-political zones of the country.
The investigating panel is currently working in Lagos, Osun, Kogi, Benue, Adamawa, Bauchi, Sokoto, Kano, Imo, Enugu, Akwa Ibom and Edo States.
The team is expected to look into at least six controversial projects in each of the states, based on petitions and complaints already received by the commission.
Spokesperson of the commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said: “the ICPC is carrying out the exercise with support from the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Budget Office of the Federation, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Premium Times, International Centre for Investigative Reporting, Public and Private Development Centre, Bureau of Public Procurement, Community for Peace and Corrupt-free Society and BudgIT. In Lagos, the ICPC investigating committee is probing the construction of a community recreation centre in Epe, which was awarded at the cost of N720m in 2016.” (The Nation)
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