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ICPC: Increasing Illicit Financial Flow, Diversion of Public Funds, Cause for Concern
*Says FG can generate internal revenue to fund budgets
Sunday Aborisade and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and related offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye yesterday expressed concern over the increasing trend of illicit financial flow, budget padding and diversion of public funds in the country.
Owasanoye, who made this known in Abuja, while presenting his keynote address during a workshop organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-corruption, in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) on the theme: “Corruption as Threat Security in Nigeria,” stressed the need for corruption to be confronted headlong.
He opined that corruption accentuated political patronage, encouraged sabotage of governance, and that funds appropriated on paper, were never used for the purpose for which they were meant.
He warned that if citizens did not deal with the issues of corruption, it would further impact negatively on the country.
He, however said Nigeria has enough laws and regulatory frameworks to address the issues of corruption, but that hypocrisy remained the greatest obstacle to the fight against graft.
He noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria, Bureau of Public Procurement and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, are all anti-corruption gate keepers.
“We’re not in short supply of anti-corruption legislations. There are many laws that many do not recognise as anti-corruption frameworks; that are not ICPC, EFCC, or Police or NAPTIP or NDLEA.
“The Bureau of Public Procurement is an anti-corruption gatekeeper, the CBN is an anti-corruption gatekeeper, the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission, ICRC is an anti-corruption gatekeeper…I could go on, many of them like that, if you aggregate them, you would get like about 50.
“Most regulatory bodies also play anti-corruption role. Virtually, all professions are regulated and every unethical practice that is carried out by these professionals is already prohibited by their rules, so we are not in short supply of anti-corruption institutions but what we are in short supply of is integrity. We have a generous supply of hypocrisy, and we also deceive ourselves,” he said
However, Owasanoye has said money to fix Nigeria was within the country. The ICPC boss lamented that the monies were being stolen on daily basis, a development he said, was worsening corruption in the country .
Owasanoye stated this in Abuja as Guest Speaker at a two – day capacity building workshop organised for members of the House of Representatives Committee on Anti – Corruption and Military Officers. The forum was organised, by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).
The ICPC boss said about N24 trillion electronic transactions took place in the country between January to June this year.
He said the country records electronic transaction of about N50 trillion annually.
He noted with concern that corruption in Nigeria was highly systemic or malignant and that it was being carried out in most of the government owned agencies , particularly the revenue generating ones.
He said the ICPC intercepted N181 million from 19 of such agencies, which was to be diverted or stolen by corrupt public officers between January and June this year.
He said, “If corruption is fought to standstill by all relevant agencies and public officers, it will be discovered that the money to fix Nigeria, is in Nigeria and not elsewhere because we monitored N24 trillion electronic transactions alone among Nigerians within Nigerians from January to June this year, which runs to about N50 trillion yearly.”
Earlier, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who declared the event open, said tackling corruption goes beyond just lawmaking.
On her part, the Resident Representative, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Marija Peran, said corruption in the security sector had a detrimental impact, both on security apparatuses and on wider peace and security.
Chairman of the House Committee on Corruption, Hon. Shehu Garba said corruption usually denies a nation of the needed development, and making good plans for the future, adding that fighting the menace cannot be effective without collaboration.
The Chief of Defence Staff , General Lucky Irabor , represented by Major – General A. A . Adesope said there was a serious link between corruption , insecurity and instability.