By Soni Daniel
The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, said that the agency does not spend money recovered from individuals and corporate entities.
Owasanoye, who made the clarification when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance, submitted that all monies recovered and generated by the commission are directly into the coffers of the federal government, as the agency has no power to retain or spend recovered funds.
He said that the Commission has a designated account for the recovery of proceeds of crime called ‘ICPC Recovery Account’ into which all recovered funds are lodged for onward payment into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government.
Owasanoye said, “ICPC was not contemplated as a revenue generating agency. In the course of our work, we do recover funds; however ICPC does not spend recovered assets. We do not use part of it for our work.”
The Chairman argued that rather than spend money illegally, the commission had helped to boost the tax revenue of the government by bringing defaulters to book.
“When we investigate, we also look at the tax components and bring defaulters into the tax net, which goes straight to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, had expressed concern that Nigeria’s national budget was becoming too dependent on loans partly due to non-compliance to financial regulations by government revenue generating agencies.
He said that the purpose of the investigative hearing was to ensure that all government revenue generating agencies comply with the Fiscal Responsibility Act which stipulates that 80 percent of operational surplus be paid into the CRF.
He said, “The revenue generating agencies of the government have taken solace and pleasure in diverting government’s money, taking care of frivolous expenditure and making provision in audited accounts that are fictitious in nature. The 2021 budget is to the deficit of N6 trillion, government cannot continue this way.”