ICPC queries N5.6b for zonal projects in foreign affairs, justice ministries
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said that the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice had N5.6b inserted in their 2019 budget for execution of zonal intervention projects.
ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, at a media roundtable in Abuja, to promote the commission’s ‘My Constituency, My Project’ initiative said a breakdown of the 2019 allocation for zonal interventional projects showed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would spend N2.9b on constituency projects.
He wondered why and what constituency projects would be doing in Foreign Affairs and Justice ministries, saying, “We will ask questions with this kind of allocation.”
Owasanoye added that the allocation of N2.7b to the Ministry of Justice in the budget brings to the fore some of the anomalies surrounding the implementation of constituency projects across the country.
He expressed concern that constituency projects, which principally were projects and empowerment programmes designed to bring development to rural communities in the country had been added to the budgets of ministries and agencies, which have no business with such projects.
He further revealed that only about 60 per cent of constituency projects have been completed with most of them executed in shoddy ways due to poor technical designs, impositions and other irregularities.
He stressed that the ICPC would not relent on tracking constituency projects as long as the government kept funding them and therefore charged local communities to own the projects for themselves.
Owasanoye also advocated the handover of zonal intervention projects to local government authorities upon completion for effective maintenance and sustainability.
“If somebody had nominated a project and succeeded in getting it to the community, it is not the duty of the person to maintain it?
“Communities need to understand that public funds were used for such projects and as such they need to take ownership. We recommend that such projects need to be handed over to the local government for their host communities to take over,” he stated.
Speaking, Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Garba Abari, who was also at the round table, canvassed citizens’ participation in constituency projects.
Abari noted that the active involvement of communities in the planning and execution of constituency projects would remove the issues of corruption and abuse.
He stressed that such ownership would ensure that contractors do not use substandard materials for projects, stressing this would ensure that completed projects were not vandalised after their handing over.