NASENI partners EFCC, ICPC to check revenue leakages
National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has partnered with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission(ICPC) to check revenue leakages and ensure accountability in the agency.
Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, disclosed this at a two-day capacity-building workshop on procurement organised by the agency and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in Abuja.
The workshop themed “Strengthening procurement processes in NASENI system-wide” was organised to enhance the capacity of principal officers of the agency on the standard processes and guiding rules operations in the delivery of procurement activities.
Haruna noted that the anti-graft agencies were invited by NASENI to scrutinise its operations, including advising it on how to block loopholes that might aid corrupt tendencies among staff.
“We actually invited them (EFCC and ICPC) to scrutinise our operations and to advise us if there are any loopholes or tendencies that certain things can be covered or an opportunity for someone to do things that are not in line with the extant laws.
“This is because they are professionals and by studying every aspect of the operations, they would be able to advise where they think there is likelihood for leakages and this would also re-impose operational integrity”.
Asked if the agency was suspecting foul play from its officials, the NASENI boss dismissed such insinuation, noting that the agency was being extra careful due to its new status.
“No, with our new status, we know that extra care is needed. Recall that we have been operating without funds and now that funding has come, there is a need to ensure that people do not lose focus and be intoxicated by the resources that have come. We just need to cross-check and put new measures in place.”
According to Haruna, the training was important to ensure that principal officers are updated on the dynamics of procurement, adding that “we need resources to be appropriately applied as much as possible”.
Maintaining that the nation’s procurement law is standard, the NASENI DG however said regulations and the procedures were dynamic in times of emergencies like COVID-19.
“So, we need to be updated on the procedures. The essence of procurement law, of course, is to get optimum value for money to ensure that the resources are appropriately applied as much as possible. You can have alternatives for their utilization, but which method is optimum and in line with extant legislation and so the fact that we are engineers, we are not exempted.
“Ignorance is not an excuse in law, everyone must know the law and all other extant regulations”, he added.
Earlier, the chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, maintained that blocking and reforming skewed and crooked public systems was a veritable way to achieving a corruption-free service.
Owasanoye, represented by a commissioner in the ICPC, Senator Anthony Agbo stressed the need for every Ministry, Department and Agency in the public service to ensure effective and efficient system and procedures to curb corruption.
According to him, most corrupt practices perpetrated in the public sector are conducted through the procurement sector, adding, “opening up and straightening procurement procedures is vital to promote integrity and accountability of procurements and ultimately good service”.
On his part, Auditor-General for the federation, Aghughu Adolphus, said the only way the nation could curb wastages in public expenditure as well as cope with the attendant negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic is for stakeholders to maintain the highest level of transparency, accountability and fiscal discipline in procurement.