The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences, ICPC, has reacted to a newspaper report regarding a certificate and age scandal, purportedly rocking the anti-graft agency.
The agency’s rejoinder to the report was contained in a statement issued earlier today, by its spokesperson, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua
TheFact Nigeria gathers that the report, published by the Daily Trust Newspaper on Monday, 15 November, 2021, stated that the anti-corruption commission was “enmeshed in a wide-scale certificate forgery and age falsification scandal, involving dozens staff”, and that many senior staff were found to have been involved in the illegalities.
The national daily had further “learnt that a grand plan was being hatched by the board and management of the anti-corruption commission to provide a soft landing for those found culpable. According the the report, no fewer than 50 staff of the commission had so far appeared before the board’s subcommittee on verification of staff certificates and service records where irregularities were discovered in their age and credentials.
The Commission, while describing the report as an attempt by the newspaper to malign her Chairman and Board members, strongly debunked claims that there was a plan in place to shield culpable staff tagged “loyalists”, as well as those it claimed have been recruited under the current Board.
The ICPC, in its rejoinder stated that the certificate verification exercise, which commenced in 2019, was at the behest of the current Board, and entailed screening of all officers by the Department of State Services (DSS), and aimed at making the process independent and transparent.
“The exercise is on-going and not yet concluded. Verification exercises have been conducted in the past by the DSS, and therefore the current exercise is not a new one”, the statement said.
The Commission further disclosed that there was another routine verification exercise in all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), which was commenced by the Federal Government through the IPPIS earlier in the year, to clear discrepancies in public service personnel records.
The Commission created an in-house team to carry out verification of its staff records as supplementary to the one set up by the Government.
“This internal verification exercise is still on-going and no report of anomaly has yet been received from the Committee by the Board. That being the case, the issue of “soft landing” therefore does not arise and the Daily Trust’s report is preemptive and erroneous.
“The Commission will act on the findings and recommendations of its Verification Exercise Committee, including prosecution of offenders, where necessary”.
The ICPC also termed “inaccurate” the newspaper’s claim that agitations for the Commission to beam its searchlight on its staff heightened after an ex-female staff that left the ICPC to join the NDIC was later sacked upon discovery that she was parading forged credentials. According to the Commission, the case of the ex-female staff occurred prior to the assumption of office by the current Board.
Meanwhile the ICPC has stated that “it will not be distracted by sponsored reports in the media, and threats to the Board as it will continue to execute its mandate and reforms in the Commission without fear or favour”.