EFCC, ICPC, remove the specks in your eyes
Sir: There is no bigger indictment in recent times than the one delivered recently by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the Economic and Finance Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission (ICPC) – the two state agencies he created while in office to fight corruption.
At an international symposium, with the theme: ‘Leadership and Africa Narrative in Development and Progress of Africa, to mark his 85th birthday, Chief Obasanjo said: “I cast a cursory look at some of the people running around and those for whom people are running around. If EFCC and ICPC have done their jobs properly and been supported adequately by the judiciary, most of them would be in jail. Any person who has no integrity in small things cannot have integrity in big things.”
With this high-power indictment, one would have expected these agencies to sit back and engage in introspection to change their ways in justifying their continued relevance. Alas the EFCC is yet to turn a new leaf against the futility of engaging in media trials of politically exposed persons.
Last November, Daily Trust Newspaper reported a monumental malfeasance at the ICPC. The agency was fingered in “a wide-scale certificate forgery and age falsification scandal, involving dozens of staff, with many senior staff found to have been involved in the illegalities. Rather than strive to remove the speck in its eyes, ICPC has strenuously bandied unproven allegations against some federal agencies in a clear case of failure to understand the workings of the civil service.
At the Third National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Service and presentation of integrity award held in Abuja, November, last year, where President Muhammadu Buhari was present, the ICPC chairman was all out to prove his capacity and showcase his efforts concerning his mandate.
However, in doing so, he maligned others through wrongful accusations. The UCH was singled out for a round of smear campaign while the ICPC presented its 2021 Ethics and Compliance Scorecard, last month.
Last week at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Service Matters, the ICPC Chairman alleged that the Ministry of Labour and the UCH were found culpable of padding their nominal rolls.
In many news clips, the ICPC chairman has severally identified illegal recruitment, illegal and unilateral increases and remuneration by some MDAs “for the high cost of governance and rising personnel budget” among others, to which he tried to justify, citing UCH and Ministry of Labour. But his own staff were also fingered in certificate scandal and age falsification!
While no one should begrudge ICPC in doing its job, it is trite to ask: if investigations are still ongoing, why name only one institution out of the hundreds it claimed infringed on the extant rules. Available documents indicate that UCH recruitment was validated by the President’s pronouncement and the exigency of the moment including COVID-19 backed with a directive by the Ministry of Health.
Inadequate professionals in the health sector, brain-drain and lack of modern equipment have done a lot of damage to the health sector. However systemic bureaucratic bottleneck can further weaken the health sector.
• Mayowa wrote from Garki, Abuja.