By Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
The federal government Tuesday admitted that in spite of the ongoing efforts to fight corruption, there were indications that corrupt practices were still prevalent in the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), and other stakeholders in the fight against corruption, stated this in Abuja while highlighting steps that needed to be taken to beef up the government’s anti-corruption war.
It was tagged, ‘’One-day Dialogue Session on Strengthening the Anti-Corruption Agenda: Ensuring Accountability and Transparency’’, and organised by PACAC and the Centre for Democracy and Development,
The SGF, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Services, Amina Shamaki, said the Muhammadu Buhari administration had since 2015 — when it came on board, recorded “unprecedented level of successes” in the fight against corruption by securing number of convictions, including very high profile personalities.
However, Mustapha said in spite of the successes recorded, the anti-graft war had not been won.
“Nonetheless, we should not rest on our oars with the illusion that the war has been won despite the level of the successes I have enumerated. While the fight has been very successful in tackling monumental corruption, less grandeur cases are perceived and even reported.
“While the government has displayed uncommon courage to relieve its appointees especially, in its agencies, of their positions and responsibilities, there still exist some level of infractions on Public Procurement Act, and other laws. These tend to diminish the efforts of government in this direction”, the SGF added.
He said there was the need to bring about innovative legislations, policies and measures to deal conclusively with the persistent acts of corruption, suggesting that the roles of audit departments/units and auditors in aiding and abetting corruption in ministries, departments and agencies is crucial.
“I should like to see the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation come up with innovative policies and measures to empower auditors to halt any payment that is clearly in breach of Public Procurement Act, Financial Regulations, Public Service Rules in particular, and other laws, in general.
“For such auditors that compromise, or are complicit, such policies and measures should isolate them for disciplinary action which should not preclude prosecution”, he added.