Some Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government are to be investigated by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for breaches and infractions of the law regarding COVID-19 intervention funds guidelines and other procurement abuses.
The Chairman of the ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, made this disclosure at the 2022 African Union Anti-Corruption Day which was declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja.
The 2022 African Union Anti-Corruption Day has as theme “Strategies and Mechanisms for the Transparent Management of COVID-19 Funds”.
The ICPC boss stated in his remarks that the Commission had observed discrepancies and infractions in the procurement and payments made by some ministries and agencies after the release and appropriate disbursement of COVID-19 funds.
The Commission, he added, also observed that in some instances, the distribution of relief materials or palliatives was chaotic, disorderly and uncoordinated.
He said, “Some implicated MDAs refused the monitoring team access to their records, thereby impeding the successful inquiry into their activities. These MDAs are flagged and will be investigated for breaches and infractions of the law and COVID-19 intervention funds guidelines and other procurement abuses.
“Hoarding and diversion of materials were also common, warranting the raids by people in some situations, facilities or locations warehousing palliatives. Some of such also created widespread violence.”
Reports, according to the ICPC Chairman, also showed selective distribution, favouritism, nepotism and other biases in the allocation and distribution of relief materials or palliatives as well as the highjacking of palliatives by political actors, their proxies, cronies, and affiliates.
On the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, Prof. Owasanoye affirmed that the ICPC collaborated with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to ensure integrity, transparency and accountability in the distribution of the vaccine doses in the country.
“It was also to ensure that accountability is established and sustained throughout the four phases of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign focus: theft and embezzlement; service provision; vaccine availability; and advisory.
“The essence of this collaboration was to guarantee the integrity of the programme as any form of corruption or deviance however marginal in the COVID-19 vaccination exercise will undermine the huge efforts of government against the pandemic, deny and deprive willing Nigerians of the right to be vaccinated and may escalate and blow up the number of the infected, thereby worsening the health crisis,” he noted.
Acknowledging improvement in its mandate, the ICPC Chairman explained that the Commission’s activities are focused on things that enhance the government’s desire to eradicate corruption in revenue and expenditure sides of governance; bring development closer to the people by diminishing poverty and implementing sustainable development goals; ensuring value for money in the implementation of public funded projects; and escalate asset recovery and asset return.