Most MDAs Lack Fraud Prevention Strategies, Says ICPC

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*  Boards of five agencies yet to be constituted 

*NSCDC rated worst govt body

Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

A recent ethics and integrity compliance assessment conducted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) on 108 federal government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAS) has revealed that most of them lack fraud prevention strategies, including checks and balances, periodic published audited accounts, and stock verification systems among others.

In spite of the current administration stance on anti-corruption, most of the MDAs also do not have well-articulated whistleblowing mechanism/policies as well a functional and effective asset verification units.

According to the assessment which was obtained by THISDAY, the ICPC conducted an ‘Ethics and Integrity Compliance’ scorecard on 108 government organisations based on corporate governance indicators, which showed that only 27 MDAs are fully compliant with standards of ethics and integrity in their management, finance and administration systems.

From 19 government ministries assessed, none scored full compliance while only five scored between 70 and 95 per cent with substantial compliance. Eleven ministries scored 50 to 69 per cent while two non-complying ministries scored between 1 to 49 per cent, leaving one ministry non-responsive.

The report listed five best performing ministries with sound financial management systems as the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, 38.6 per cent; Ministry of Finance, 38.4 per cent; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, 37.8 per cent; Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, 36.6 per cent, and Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, 36 4 per cent.

The best performing ministries in terms of good administrative systems are the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, 24.9 per cent; Ministry of Finance, 20.9 per cent; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, 20.8 per cent; Ministry of Youths and Sports, 20.6 per cent, and Ministry of Science and Technology, 19.6 per cent.

The five top ministries which scored the highest under management culture and structure indicators are the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, 25.8 per cent; Ministry of Information and Culture, 25.6 per cent; Ministry of Environment, 22.6 per cent; Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, 21.6 per cent, and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, 22.1 per cent.

On the overall scorecard of ministries, the ICPC rated the top five as the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Ministry of Petroleum Resources; Ministry of Information and Culture as well as the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

On the bottom of the ladder are the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Environment.

The ICPC scorecard also shows that most government organisations are not complying with standards of ethics and integrity in executing government businesses, while most of the MDAs lack core values and system for staff to sign off as having read and understood its core values, mission and vision.

According to the report, most MDAs do not have domesticated codes of conduct/ethics and policies regarding acceptance of gifts, donations, hospitality among others.

The ICPC further found out that from 108 MDAs assessed, five do not have constituted boards; 26 do not require boards, while 77 with boards do not conduct periodic capacity development training for their board members.

The anti-graft agency’s assessment revealed, among others, that most MDAs do not have strategic plan with an ethics and compliance element, adding that where this exists, there are no clearly stated result framework, specific timelines responsible persons, data collection, analysis and reports. It also revealed that the management of most MDAs do not have fraud prevention strategies such as checks and balances, periodic published audited accounts, and stock verification systems among others.

“Most MDAs do not have well-articulated whistleblowing mechanism/policies. Most of them do not have a functional and effective asset verification unit. In most cases, audit unit, store or committee handles this,” the report said.

However, of the 108 MDAs assessed by the ICPC, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) topped the list as the best government parastatal with sound management culture and structure, scoring 30 per cent ahead of others.

Others are National Productivity Centre (29 per cent); National Hospital, Abuja (27.2 per cent); Rural Electrification Agency (26.5 per cent); State House (26.4 per cent); Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) 26.3 per cent); Nigeria Meteorological Agency (25.8 per cent); Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (25.4 per cent); Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (25.3 per cent), and Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (24.9 per cent).

In the overall rating for the parastatals on all indicators, PTAD is the first and best performing organisation, while the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) was allegedly rated the last and worst government parastatal in terms of ethics and integrity for being a non-responsive organisation.