President Muhammadu Buhari has said that necessary action and sanctions will be meted out to heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other corrupt officials whose activities undermine the revenue projections of the Federal Government.
President Buhari gave the warning, while declaring open the 3rd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector, held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
TheFact Nigeria had reported on the exposition, by the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, of the illegalities in MDAs as factors responsible for the high cost of governance in the country.
President Buhari said that stiff sanctions await those who bring in personnel into the public workforce by illegal recruitment, pad their payroll and retain ghost workers, adding that his administration would not hesitate to punish Heads of MDAs that fraudulently present new projects as ongoing projects in the budget.
‘‘We reduced the cost of governance by maintaining our promise to complete abandoned or ongoing projects commenced by previous administrations and have ensured that MDAs do not put forward new capital projects at the expense of ongoing projects.
‘‘Government has, however, noted from the activities of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), that some MDAs have devised the fraudulent practice of presenting new projects as ongoing projects.
‘‘Necessary action and sanctions will continue against the heads of such errant MDAs. I am confident that ICPC will continue to maintain the vigilance required of her by the ICPC Act in this regard,’’ the President said.
Describing the summit themed “Corruption and Cost of Governance: New Imperatives for Fiscal Transparency,” as auspicious, President Buhari noted that it was reminiscent of the negative impacts of unnecessary cost of governance and offers an opportunity for critical stakeholders to offer suggestions on ways to further reduce the cost of governance and promote transparency and accountability in government expenditure.
He expressed delight that the Legislative and Judicial arms of government were also under focus on managing the cost of governance “because government is a collective and is not the business of the Executive branch alone”.
‘‘On 19th August 2020, the Federal Executive Council adopted the National Ethics and Integrity Policy which I launched on 25th September 2020.
‘‘I am delighted that some public officers continue not only to demonstrate the core values of ethics, integrity and patriotism but have been identified for their sterling anti-corruption disposition in their workplace,’’ he said.
A highpoint of the event was the presentation of the 2021 Public Service Integrity Awards to three distinguished Nigerians: Nelson Okoronkwo, Deputy Director, Legal, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Muhammad Ahmad, Assistant Commander of Narcotics, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and Ikenna Nweke, a PhD student, from Imo State, studying in Japan.
Of Nweke, the President said, ‘I am also happy to note the ICPC special award to Ikenna Steve Nweke, a Nigerian Ph.D student from Imo State studying in Japan.
‘‘He has done Nigeria proud in far-away Japan by displaying traditional Nigerian values of honesty and integrity and returning a wallet containing a very large sum of money and other valuables to the police.
‘‘He also declined 10% of the money found as a reward offered to him.
‘‘I join the ICPC in declaring him ICPC CITIZENS ANTI-CORRUPTION VOLUNTEER GROUP ICON.
‘‘He is indeed an icon and a beacon for our youths. I also congratulate all those to be awarded the ICPC Certificate of Integrity through their agencies.’’
The event was attended by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad and a representative of the Senate, President Ahmed Lawan.