James Emejo in Abuja
The Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (OAuGF) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to embark on a system study and review of revenue generating agencies in the country.
The exercise, seeks among other things, to curb further revenue losses and leakages to the government and help save as much as N100 billion which could to help fund the 2020 budget.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony between both organisations, the Auditor General for the Federation (AuGF), Anthony Ayine, alongside Chairman, ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said there was the need for his office to upscale its relationship with the commission in order to strengthen the fight against corruption in the management of public resources.
He said working in silos had often stifled progress adding that the collaboration will go a long way to strengthen their capacity to tackle corruption going forward.
He said the development was in realisation that no institutions can tackle corruption alone but through strong partnerships.
The AuGF said the fact that his office currently lacked enforcement powers had further necessitated the need for the partnership which is expected to be a game changer.
He said the main focus of the collaboration would be on revenue generating agencies adding that if resources are properly harnessed, it would go a long way in helping the government to fulfil its promises to Nigerians especially in the provision of critical infrastructure among others.
Ayine, also said focusing on revenue agencies will further ensure that the government is able to fund its budget as well as reduce borrowing.
He said while the exercise would be timely, the purpose was to also assist revenue agencies in doing their jobs better.
He added that there was no need for panic among revenue generating institutions but sought for their cooperation in carrying out the exercise which was expected to commence next week.
He insisted that the exercise mainly seeks to strengthen public accountability and fight corruption as well as blocking leakages in order to make funds available for the benefits of Nigerians.
However, the ICPC boss said corruption had set the country backwards over the years, adding that radical problems required radical solutions to address.
He said the commission was currently taking some enforcement measures on past auditor general’s reports which had indicted several public institutions of corruption.
Owasanoye, said the ICPC has the mandate to nip corruption in the bud and in some instances of revenue diversion, order an immediate reversal and quickly punish offenders in line with its establishment act.
He further disclosed that the commission was investigating 208 ministries, departments and agencies of government (MDAs) adding that the sum of N40 billion had been salvaged from being mismanaged.
He said except revenue generating agencies are properly monitored through efficient systems, monies allocated for the implementation of constituency projects to benefit Nigerians may be squandered.
Therefore, he said the collaboration would assess systems and processes utilised by revenue agencies, adding that MDAs found to have violated extant laws will be publicly disclosed.
He said the exercise was also intended to have preventive measures in place to deter corruption as, “prevention is better than cure”, stressing that “we will be asking questions.”
Owasanoye, further said the commission had analysed the 2020 budget and will be closely monitoring the implementation of executive projects.
He added that past annual reports of the AuGF were in consonance with ICPC’s initial findings on MDAs adding that investigations were ongoing.
“Our investigations are pointing at wrong doing, ” he said.