By Haruna Salami
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) declared on Thursday that the N13.59 trillion 2021 budget was padded by the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with duplicated projects worth N300 billion.
The anti-corruption agency also disclosed that projects duplication worth N100 billion were also inserted into the N17.12 trillion 2022 budget by some MDAs aside N49.9 billion tracked as salary for ghost workers between January and June this year.
Startling revelations on the intercepted corrupt plans by the affected MDAs, were made by ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye during interface with the Senate Committee on Finance.
According to the ICPC boss, the N300 billion duplicated projects in the 2021 budget and N100 billion in the 2022 budget were tracked through thorough scrutinisation carried out on approved projects for the various MDAs.
“N300 billion would have been wasted by the Federal government on duplicated projects inserted into the 2021 budget and N100 billion for same purpose in the current fiscal year if not tracked and intercepted by ICPC.
“The same preemptive move, saved the country from spending N49.9 billion for salaries of ghost workers put on fictitious pay roll by the fraudulent MDAs between January and June this year.
“Names of MDAs involved in projects duplications running into intercepted billions of Naira and fictitious pay rolls, are available and will be forwarded to the committee.
“The good thing about the preemptive moves made by us is that monies for the fraudulent acts were prevented from being released to the affected MDAs and it is gratifying that the Finance Ministry and Accountant General Office cooperated with us”, he said.
He advised relevant committees of the National Assembly to be on the lookout for such projects duplication in the proposed N19.76 trillion 2023 budget.
“From our own end, detection of such projects are done by verifying their locations and names, upon which we tell the appropriate authorities not to release wrongly budgeted monies for them”, he added.
Impressed by the submission, the Committee through its Chairman, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC Lagos West), said the operational cost of the agency will be increased from N1.8 billion.
“This committee is impressed by proactive ways your commission is adopting in the fight against corruption.
“Your submissions clearly show that all hope is not lost for our dear country as far as fighting corruption is concerned.
“Your operational cost which is N1.8 billion will be increased as required impetus for more proactive measures against corrupt practices across the various MDAs”, he said.