ICPC Moves to Recover N5.3tn Borrowed Funds

  •   Alleges politicians use MDAs for constituency projects scam Text Box: *Police ask public to video-record corrupt personnel Text Box:*Rwanda, South Africa haven for looters, says Magu

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, has said the commission was collaborating with the other anti-corruption agencies to recover N5.3 trillion that some individuals borrowed but could not pay back and were waiting for the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to redeem.

Owasanoye issued this this threat yesterday at the 17th edition of the Special Town Hall Meeting on the fight against corruption, organised in Abuja by the Ministry of Information and Culture headed by Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

He said public funds were made available to cover up so that the institutions in whose name the funds were borrowed would not collapse.

“Some people took the money and smiled to the bank, enjoying themselves in the system and can pay back and simply waiting for government to fund AMCON. The money is in the pocket of some people and we are going to recover it. It must be paid somehow. If we don’t succeed, it is the unearned income of many of us sitting here that will be used to cover it,” Owasanoye said.

He also riled some officials in the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), saying they were used to perpetrate community projects scam by some sponsors of community projects.

ICPC, which alleged that it tracked down some bogus projects in the pilot scheme it carried out in the education and health sectors some months ago, vowed that it will also target the MDAs in the second phase.

According to the ICPC chairman, many MDAs with low capacity, were saddled with responsibility to supervise constituency projects of over N1 billion when their own budget was less than N10 millions.

“In one ministry, for example, about 59 officials, within a month, took N3 billion. We arrested all of them. They were in our office for some time and their accounts blocked,” he said.

He lamented that as a rule, not more that N250, 000 was supposed to be paid into the account of a public official, but wondered that there were instances, where level 8 and 9 officials were having N250 milion paid into their account purposely for the projects of the ministry which could not be traced.

Owasanoye also accused some politicians and community leaders of conspiring to divert money meant for the poor and vulnerable people under the social intervention programme.

He said they have made some arrests in connection with the scam.

Similarly he alleged that over N9 billion that was hanging in some of the universities that were not on the payroll was recently discovered. He said the scam was an indictment on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU) for resisting the move to be put on the IPPIS.

Also speaking at the meeting, Acting Chairman, Eco, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, said that the agency had recorded 890 convictions between January and November. He said EFCC had also agreed to make presentation before the body of African heads of states next year.

Magu said fraudsters and looters were now migrating to Rwanda, South and Dubai, as their loots could no longer be laundered in Europe.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Logistics and Supply of Nigeria Police, Aminchi Baraya, caused a stir, when he said the members of the public can secretly record and upload on social media video of police officers they catch demanding for bribes at check points.

Baraya, who represented the IG of Police, Mohammed Adamu, advised the public to be discreet about the act.

The Chairman Code of Conduct Bureau, Muhammed Isah, said the Bureau had successfully prosecuted over 75 of the 160 cases filed before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in the past four years, while 100 cases were still pending.