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‘How EFCC, ICPC fuel corruption in civil service’

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• Expresses worry over nation’s rising debt profile
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has said that failure of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to prosecute Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for not giving proper audit reports and information on remittances into the federation’s account is responsible for massive corruption in the civil service.

According to the Lead Director of the centre, Eze Onyekpere Onyekpere, the anti corruption agencies have chosen not to go after civil servants who have continued to perpetrate financial fraud, depriving Nigeria of huge sums of monies through contract inflation, unauthorised travel charges and purchase of vehicles for personal use, among others, which has emboldened others to do the same.

He spoke at a one-day meeting of Public Audit Compliance Assessment Template organized by the centre yesterday in Abuja.

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To the CSJ director, the speed with which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was able to identify the accounts of the #EndSARS organisers and freezed them, is a clear indication of deep rooted corruption in government because it shows that all individuals and MDAs diverting government funds can easily be traced if the government wishes to do so.

“After studying the auditor-general’s report, I strongly believe that if all monies due to the federation account are recovered, Nigeria may not need to borrow or if we have to borrow, it will be a small amount that we can manage.

“If you look at our debt profile, it is over $85 billion, and in this debt profile, something else is missing which many don’t even look at and that is the money Nigeria borrows from the CBN. Nigeria has so far collected over N11 trillion from the CBN,” Onyekpere said.

On ways to reduce the debt profile, he advised that government should not use borrower funds for recurrent expenditures but to look into other routes of internally generated revenues, especially from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), universities that have not been remitting monies generated from the earnings from programmes and Sandwich courses that they run, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs Service and the Immigration Service.

The Programme Officer of public finance management of the CSJ, Fidelis Onyejebgu, said various government MDAs had failed on remittance of internally generated revenues and unspent funds to the federation account.

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