By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, said yesterday it successfully mopped up excess cash totaling N147 billion which some Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, illegally diverted from the 2020 budget as personnel cost.
Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, who disclosed this at a one-day interactive session with directors of finance and accounts, as well as internal auditors of key agencies of the federal government, added that investigation by the commission also revealed that 51 health sector Institutions were involved in budget manipulations.
According to him, a summary of findings from the 51 health sector Institutions showed that they had, among other things, engaged in padding of nominal rolls, widespread misuse of personnel cost allocation on non-personnel related expenditure, especially on outsourced services, to the tune of N4.5 billion, and fraudulent diversion of funds through manipulation of account numbers of beneficiaries on the GIFMIS platform.
He said ICPC found that the institutions had unspent excess balances to the tune of N4.86 billion despite abuses and misuse of their budgetary allocation.
Prof. Owasanoye noted that ICPC had, as part of its 2019 System Study and Review of MDAs, also mopped up N42 billion (personnel cost), after it was issued a warrant to do so by the Minister of Finance.
“The Minister of Finance, through findings of the commission of the wrong application of personnel cost on overhead and capital item, issued a negative warrant to mop up excess cash in the personnel cost of the MDAs to forestall further misapplication of funds.
“Similar Warrant was issued in 2020 totaling N147 billion which was a huge savings to Government. The Year 2020 has been a challenging year with the devastating effect of COVID-19 leading to low revenue, low crude sales, low economic activities and recession among others, hence the importance of blocking leakages and wastages within the system,” the ICPC boss added.
He said the commission, as part of its statutory mandate, had in the past few years been conducting systems study and review of MDAs.
“The overall objective of a system review is reform of the systems and procedures of public agencies with a view to identifying and eliminating, preventing, blocking and obstructing opportunities for corruption.
“To achieve this, the exercise targets detecting areas of vulnerabilities, actual weaknesses, leakages and corruption risks and to recommend ways of strengthening these systems and removing the discretionary gaps and such opportunities for both individual and institutional malfeasance on our public resources.”
“In addition, the review also targets