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ICPC Uncovers, Recovers N1.264b Tax Diversion

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Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has disclosed that it has this year uncovered and recovered the sum of N1.264billion diversion of tax and other statutory revenues as part of routine investigations, in itssupport of government’s effort to improve revenue generation in the country.
This is true even as it stated that in order to differentiate between outright fraud and administrative errors, it met with some MDAs to discuss recurring surpluses in their payroll in order to determine proactive measures to improve the budget process.
As a result, it discovered soft projects worth more than N7billion for a catchment population of about a million people under the guise of empowerment and another instance of a successful increase in an agency’s budget.
It added that both cases done by politically exposed persons are under investigation.
Chairman, of ICPC, Bolaji Owasanoye, made the disclosure at the Fourth National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector, held at the Conference Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
The event, with the theme: ‘Corruption and the Education Sector’, was jointly organised by the ICPC, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
He said: “As is now widely publicised ICPC has intensified its scrutiny of personnel and capital cost of MDAs leading to proactive restraining of surpluses or duplications in the budget. Just last week the commission in collaboration with the Budget Office and stakeholders met with some MDAs on the recurring surpluses in their payroll to determine proactive measures to improving the budget process.
“This is towards separating outright fraud from administrative lapses. We also actively review the budget to prevent abuse by senior civil servants and PEPs who sometimes personalise budgetary allocation for direct benefit. In one case, PEP successfully increased the budget of an agency in order for the agency to buy a property from him. In another case the PEP inserted soft projects worth over N7b for a catchment population of about one million people in the name of empowerment. Both cases are under investigation.”
The head of the ICPC said that among other things, the commission was assiduously working to root out phony appointments and scrutinize candidates for appointment to positions of permanent secretaries.
He noted that investigation results showed that numerous potential nominees are linked to financial misconduct, dishonest behaviour, a breach of code of conduct, and substance misuse.
Owasanoye applauded the commitment of the Head of Service to clean-up the stable by effective pre-appointment screening, noting that the ICPC would continue to play its part.
He said the commission was particularly delighted that Chief Superintendent Amah, who was conferred with the prestigious 2022 Public Service Integrity, for rejecting a $200,000 bribe from robbers, is from the Nigeria Police, an institution often derided, maligned and under- appreciated.
Amah, who was conferred the award by President Muhammadu Buhari is the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Nasarawa Division in Kano State.
The ICPC boss said: “On 24th April, 2022, a matter was reported to him that a suspect, one Mr. Ali Zaki convinced Bureau De Change Operators that he has $750,000 which he could sell to them at the rate of N430 to give him the equivalent N322,500,000.
“After a bank staff confirmed the availability of the money at the bank to the victims, the transaction took place. However, the suspect arranged with armed robbers to track and rob the victims while they were transporting the money.
“When the matter was reported to the Police Division in Kano State where SP Daniel Amah was the DPO, they recommended investigations. In the course of the investigation, they traced the principal suspect, Mr Ali Zaki who offered $200,000 to the SP to kill the case, through a bank staff. The offer was rejected, the bank staff was promptly arrested which led to the arrest of the principal suspect. The $200,000 was recovered and registered as exhibit.
“For this and other acts of integrity, SP Daniel Itse Amah is being conferred with the 2022 Public Service Integrity Awards.”
Owasanoye also said the ICPC has constituted a special team on investigation and prosecution of sexual harassment in secondary and tertiary institution in response to the recent epidemic of sexual harassment in the education sector.
He said: “ICPC has escalated its prevention mandate in the face of costly, time consuming and unpredictable outcomes of investigation and prosecution. In this regard we are strengthening the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Monitoring Unit (ACTU) in MDAs. For the education sector, we collaborated with other institutions, including Nigerian Universities Commission andNational Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and much more recently with JAMB our co-host for this event.
“With JAMB and Department of State Service, we conducted last year a series of undercover operations across the country on corruption in the university admissions processes leading to the busting of syndicates and arrest of its leaders responsible for compromising Interim Joint Matriculation Board (IJMB) and Joint Universities Preliminary Examinations Board (JUPEB).
At the event, Buhari pointedly accused the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of being complicit in the corruption threat facing the nation’s tertiary education sector.
He said, “Incessant strikes especially by unions in the tertiary education often imply that government is grossly underfunding education, but I must say that corruption in the education system from basic level to the tertiary level has been undermining our investment in the sector and those who go on prolonged strikes on flimsy reasons are no less complicit.”
The President also noted additional actions taken by academics, such as the use of covert terminology to commit corruption in ivory towers, which, in his view, undermines efforts to combat the threat of corruption in the education sector.
“Government and stakeholders in the educational sector are concerned about the manifestation of various forms of corruption in the education sector. I am aware that students in our universities for example, use different terminologies to describe different forms of corruption they experience on our campuses.
“There is sorting or cash for marks/grades, sex for marks, sex for grade alterations, examination malpractice, and so on.
“Sexual harassment has assumed an alarming proportion. Other forms of corruption include pay-roll padding or ghost workers, lecturers taking up full time appointments in more than one academic institution, including private institutions, lecturers writing seminar papers, projects and dissertations for students for a fee, and admission racketeering, to mention only the most glaring corrupt practices,” he said.
Buhari, however, commended the ICPC for its due diligence in investigating and prosecuting sexual harassment as abuse of power in the country’s educational institutions.
He assured that “Government will continue to fund education within realistically available revenue”while urging stakeholders, including the media to “equally advocate for transparency in the amount generated as internally generated revenue by educational institutions and how such funds are expended.”
Buhari added that “Corruption in the expenditure of internally generated revenue of tertiary institutions is a matter that has strangely not received the attention of stakeholders in tertiary education, including unions.”
The President also urged stakeholders to demand transparency in the management of academic institutions and for unions to question their institutions’ bloated payrolls and ongoing expenses.
Additionally, he urged the unions to cooperate with the government in order to give names on the payroll faces and identities.
In his keynote address, former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, expressed concern that Nigeria is regarded as one of the most corrupt nations in the world in his keynote speech.
He asserted that the repercussions of corruption in the education sector limit the ability of the country to build the necessary social capital for socioeconomic growth and that no country can advance without making enough and wise investments in education.
He bemoaned that corruption from both the education sector itself and the larger public sector, as well as neglect, chronic underfunding, and crisis had all plagued Nigeria’s educational system.
In the higher education sector, particularly universities, which, according to the political science professor, statutorily enjoy some relative autonomy, there is growing evidence that corrupt practices anchored in the larger public sector influence and compel such behaviours.
He said: “There are examples of how reforms policies, formulated with good intentions are often circumscribed by endemic corruption in the public sector, and in their application in the education sector, create their own dynamics of corrupt practices. This can be illustrated with examples of how three reform policies by the Federal Government compel many vice chancellors of federal universities to become somewhat ‘compulsorily’, even if in some cases reluctantly, involved in or with endemic corrupt practices in the wider public sector.
“The first reform policy of measure is the Procurement Act 2007, which requires that contracts of certain threshold should seek for approval either at the Ministerial Tenders Board (MTB) or at the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP). The second is the requirement by members of the National Assembly that every vice chancellor must appear before them to defend their budgetary proposals before funds would be appropriated to their universities. The third, which is relatively more recent, is the requirement by the Federal Government that no university should recruit any staff, even to fill existing vacancies, without at least three layers of approvals by the federal bureaucracy, at the NUC, at the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, and at the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation”
Jega noted that all these three policies in spite of the good intentions, which may have underlined them, not only undermined the relative autonomy of the universities, but have also introduced extraneous relations and influences laden with corrupt practices.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, commended the leadership of JAMB for “achieving what no other agency has achieved in recent past”.
He noted Nigeria must fight corruption to be liberated, adding that differences can be made in all sectors no matter how bad it is perceived.
“Nigeria has a bad reputation of being a corrupt society. Nobody will change that except us. At a moment you see people condemning corruption and the next moment, they engage in it. We have to sincerely fight it otherwise this nation is doom”, Adamu stated.
Speaking to newsmen after the investiture, Amah said “I’m quite happy. It’s, indeed, difficult to put these feelings into words. But I’m very excited.”
On what went through his mind when he rejected the huge amount of money, especially as a member of staff of a service that has been maligned over the years, he said
“Well, we have to protect the interest of the force, and the interests of the country at large. In all honesty, I take no personal credit. I believe there are very eminently qualified Nigerians out there that are doing great things for our country. To emerge from this stratum of Nigerians is indeed a great pleasure.
He dedicated the award to the Inspector General of Police, the ICPC and the President.

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Agric Remains Key Priority Of Our Govt -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has reiterated that agriculture remains one of the key priority areas of his administration.
He, therefore, stated that adequate steps have been taken to ensure the realisation of the vision of unlocking the food potential of the state agricultural sector through public, private partnership (PPP).
Governor Fubara stated this during the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SPAZ) Two Assessment Programme of the Federal Government, supervised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in conjunction with African Development Bank (AfDB), with the theme: “Industrialization of Agricultural Sector for Inclusive Economic Growth”, held in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The Governor, who was represented by the Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Victor Kii, noted the state’s abundant fertile land, water resources and vibrant agricultural commodities, which place the state in advantageous position for partnership and investment in the agro-processing sector.
He said, “Our state is blessed with fertile land, abundant water resources and a vibrant agricultural commodity.
“As a Government, our Governor has made agriculture one of the key priorities of his administration. He has taken very decivise, concrete steps to translating this to reality,” he said.
Accordingly, his policy direction in respect to the Ministry of Agriculture is a public private partnership arrangement. So, I urge you all to explore the potential for public, private partnership and investment opportunity in our agro-processing sector,” he stated.
The Governor asserted that the tripod collaboration is a testament of the state government’s commitment to promote sustainable development and economic growth.
He also expressed optimism that the implementation of the SAPZ Two in the state will help to harness the state’s agricultural resources, create employment opportunities and boost agricultural industries.
He said, “This collaboration between the Federal Government and the African Development Bank and our state is a testament to our shared commitment to promoting sustainable development and the economic growth of the state.
“As a major boost, the implementation of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Two programme will harness our agricultural resources to draw innovation, create employment opportunities for our youths and boost the agricultural industries in our state,” he added.
In his remarks, the leader of the Federal Government delegation and National Coordinator of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Two, Dr Yusuf Kabir, said the programme focuses on boosting agriculture for industrialization for the growth of the nation’s economy in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
Represented by the Financial Controller, SAPZ, Temitope Olaiwola, Dr Kabir, said with the phase one of the programme started in 2022 in seven states and the FCT, and lessons learnt from the implementation, the team was in Rivers State to assess the level of preparedness for the phase two of the project.
“As we are aware, the major focus of Renewed Hope Agenda of this government is agriculture. And until agriculture is industrialized, we go nowhere. And that is the full focus of SAPZ.
“It is not enough for us to produce, but it is important for us to industrialize our production, the value chain is preserved and ensure that our economy moves forward and improves the lives of our people at the end of the day.
“We started the phase one of SAPZ in 2022 in seven states and the FCT. Although we experienced a lot of implementation delay, we have a lot of lessons learnt. And based on the lessons learnt in implementing the programme in the pilot states, we decided to go into second phase.
“Therefore, I can say the states coming onboard the second phase, they are not disadvantaged states, because all the lessons learnt in implementing phase one will be used to improve on running phase two states,” he noted.
Also speaking, the representative of the African Development Bank, Ms Monde Nyambe, expressed the bank’s commitment to ensure that SAPZ Two is also implemented in Rivers State.
Nyambe, who is the Task Team Leader of the Nigeria SAPZ programme, noted that the presentations by the state government and discussions are to ensure the state’s eligiblity to participate in phase two of the programme.
In his vote of thanks, Head of Livestock and Veterinary Services, Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Godswill Ukoikpoko, thanked the Federal Government and the African Development Bank for chosing Rivers State for the second phase of the SPAZ programme, at a time the state government is giving agriculture desired attention, assuring of the state’s readiness to sustain the programme.
Highpoints of the programme were presentations of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), General and Financial Feasibility reports as well as Detailed Engineering Drawings by consultants which are prerequisite for the state’s eligiblity for onboarding the programme.

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Senate Passes NDDC N1.9trn 2024 Budget Jerks It By N44,833,046

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The Senate has passed the 2024 budget of N1,911,844,833,046 for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The NDDC budget was jerked by N44,833,046, where it moved from the initial N1,911,800,000,000 that was defended on Monday by the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Samuel Ogbuku when he presented the NDDC aggregate Expenditure of N1.911 trillion tagged “ Budget of Renewed Hope Agenda” before the Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, APC, Cross River South led Senate Committee on NDDC to N1,911,844,833,046.
The budget was read the third time and passed after the clause by clause consideration.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, submitted its report in less than 12 hours after the public hearing on the budget, where Ogbuku, appeared for defence of the budget.
According to the Senate, it considered increase by N44.8 million in Personnel Costs, Overhead Costs, Internal Capital estimates as well as adjustments in the Reve profile of the Commission, as well as considered the extra sum of N44, 833,046 being the difference from the Revenue Projections proposed by the Commission and the amount approved by the National Assembly as reflected in the Appropriations Act, 2024.
Ekpenyong said, “the Committee considered increase In Personnel Costs, Overhead Costs, Internal Capital estimates, as well as adjustments in the Revenue profile of the Commission.
The Committee also considered the extra sum of Forty Four Million, Eight Hundred and Thirty Three li) Thousand and Forty Six Naira (N44,833,046) being the difference from the Revenue Projections proposed by the Commission and the amount approved by the National Assembly as reflected in the Appropriations Act, 2024 and consequently recommends the following as the expenditure profile: Personnel Expenditure- N38,545,349,193 Overhead Expenditure- N29,246,506,753 Intemal Capital Expenditure -N8,785,574,130; Development Projects- N835,267,402,970 and Legacy Critical Projects to be funded through Borrowings – N1,000,000,000,000.TOTAL EXPENDITURE: N1,911,844,833,046.
“That the lifespan of the Year 2024 NDDC budget should elapse on 3ist December, 2024.”
The passage of budget was sequel to the consideration of the report of the Committee on NDDC that was presented by the chairman, Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, APC, Cross River South.
Shortly after presenting the budget, Senator Olamilekan, APC, Ogun West) observed that the Chairman of NDDC Committee was silent on the performance on 2023 upon which the 2024 was predicated.
Senator Adeola who was the first to pick holes in the report and queried how the budget performance of the agency for 2023 was not properly assessed before approving the 2024 budget in line with the legislative tradition, said that it amounts to process abuse for a proposal to be adopted without finding how the previous year budget was executed to justify fresh proposal, adding, “There is no mention of the performance of 2023 budget, so on what is the proposal for 2024 predicated?”
The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio had to contend with complaints on observed lapses by Senators who made contributions on the bill.
Speaking in the same vein, Senator Adamu Aliero, PDP, Kebbi Central who explained that NDDC has proposed to borrow N1 trillion in the budget proposal which he observed was not in the borrowing plan of the Federal Government, however admonished NDDC, as a child of necessity that must use the money appropriated to it to serve the interest of the people, adding that NDDC’s budget is more than two states put together without the impact been felt.
He said, “NDDC is a child of necessity and the money must be used in the interest of the people, even as its budget is more than two states and we have not seen much”.
On his part, Senator Seriake Dickson, PDP, Bayelsa West called for support of NDDC having gone through forensic audit so that request for borrowing could be brought later by President Bola Tinubu.
In his contribution, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, APC, Edo North maintained that things have improved in the NDDC and explained that the President could write to the Senate for borrowing after the budget might have been passed into law, urging lawmakers not to “judge the NDDC by its dirty past”.
He recalled how the South South governors called for forensic audit of accounts of the NDDC. “Mr. President, you recalled that we as governors agreed that forensic audit of NDDC be carried out. This was done and jobs done were paid and those not done were separated.”
After contributions, the President of the Senate, Akpabio called for vote and the budget was passed into law.

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FG, States, LGs Share N1.1tn May Revenue

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A total sum of N1,143.210 trillion May 2024 Federation Accounts Revenue has been shared to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils in the country.
The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) disclosed this in a communiqué issued at the end of its latest meeting, according to a statement by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Bawa Mokwa, on Monday.
The FAAC June 2024 meeting was chaired by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun.
According to Mokwa, the communiqué revealed that the N1,143.210 trillion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N 157.183 billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N463.425 billion, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N15.146 billion and Exchange Difference revenue of N507.456 billion.
The statement disclosed that total revenue of N2,324.792 billion was available in the month of May 2024. Total deduction for cost of collection was N76.647 billion while total transfers, interventions and refunds was N1,104.935 billion.
It added that gross statutory revenue of N1,223.894 billion was received for the month of May 2024. This was lower than the sum of N1,233.498 billion received in the month of April 2024 by N9.604 billion.
“The gross revenue of N497.665 billion was available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) in May 2024. This was lower than the N500.920 billion available in the month of April 2024 by N3.255 billion.
“The communiqué confirmed that from the N1,143.210 billion total distributable revenue, the Federal Government received total sum of N365.813 billion, the State Governments received total sum of N388.419 billion and the Local Government Councils received total sum of N282.476 billion.
“A total sum of N106.502 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.
“On the N157.183 billion distributable statutory revenue, the communiqué stated that the Federal Government received N61.010 billion, the State Governments received N30.945 billion and the Local Government Councils received N23.857 billion. The sum of N41.371 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.
“The Federal Government received N69.514 billion, the State Governments received N231.713 billion and the Local Government Councils received N162.199 billion from the N463.425 billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue.
A total sum of N2.272 billion was received by the Federal Government from the N15.146 billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL). The State Governments received N7.573 billion and the Local Government Councils received N5.301 billion.
“From the N507.456 billion Exchange Difference revenue, the Federal Government received N233.017 billion, the State Governments received N118.189 billion and the Local Government Councils received N91.119 billion. A total sum of N65.131 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.
The statement added that according to the communiqué, in the month of May 2024, Companies Income Tax Oil (CIT) and Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) increased significantly while Import and Excise Duties, Royalty Crude and Gas, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL), CET Levies and Value Added Tax (VAT) recorded considerable decreases.
It added that the balance in the ECA was $473,754.57.

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