The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has warned that the Commission will not tolerate breach of government financial rules and regulations.
Prof. Owasanoye who gave this warning during a meeting with the Forum of Directors of Finance of federal hospitals convened by the Budget Office of the Federation, to review a position paper presented by the Forum on the challenges of implementation of the 2021 budget recently in Abuja, condemned the padding of budget by government officials, told the directors, “Once you breach the rules, sanctions must follow”.
Owasanoye emphasized that it was a breach of government rules and regulations for Federal Medical Centres to have more staff than teaching hospitals, and criticised the fraudulent practices associated with outsourcing of services which was prevalent in the hospitals.
Prof. Owasanoye advised that he the management of the Hospitals carry out a proper evaluation of the actual number of personnel needed and for which services, so as not to go beyond the number of non-regular staff required.
He further noted that a review of the health sector undertaken by the Commission revealed that funds meant for specific projects in hospitals had been diverted to other unimportant areas.
With regards to internally generated revenue, IGR, Prof Owasanoye told the finance directors that agencies which receive allocations from government were expected to pay 100% of their IGRs into the government treasury to avoid abuse.
“There are some agencies and institutions that pay severance packages but do not remit their IGRs to the government. If an agency or institution is 100% funded by the government, it is expected that such agency will remit its IGR to the government,” he stated.
While appreciating the government for fulfilling its capital obligations to the hospitals, the chairman of the Forum, Dr. Samson Adegoke, criticized officials of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Office of Accountant General of the Federation for putting too much burden on the hospitals to cater to thier welfare during oversight functions, in spite of the fact that provisions have already been made for them in their respective budgets to carry out their assignments.
Addressing the issue of remittance of IGRs, Dr. Adegoke requested that the hospitals be allowed to use the funds for their operations and not to remit the entire internally generated revenue to government, mentioning such issues as non-regular staff, especially house officers and interns, whose allowances were not captured in the budget.
In his response, the representative of the Director-General of Budget Office of the Federation, debunked allegations of pressures put on hospitals by officials of the Budget Office, by way of making unnecessary demands during oversight assignments, as posited by Dr. Adegoke, and described such an allegation as unfounded and frivolous.