The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, on Thursday revealed that the 2021 budget totaling N13.59 trillion was padded by civil servants in the various Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), with duplicated projects worth N300 billion.
The anti-graft agency also disclosed that projects’ duplication worth N100 billion were also inserted into the N17.12 trillion 2022 budget by some MDAs.
The ICPC further disclosed that a whopping N49.9 billion was tracked as salaries paid to ghost workers between January and June this year.
The Chairman of the anti-corruption agency, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, made the revelations while appearing before the Senate Committee on Finance on Thursday.
The ICPC boss said the N300 billion duplicated projects in the 2021 budget and the N100 billion in the 2022 budgets were tracked through a thorough scrutinisation carried out on the approved projects for the various MDAs.
Owasanoye said, “N300 billion would have been wasted by the federal government on duplicated projects inserted into the 2021 budget and another N100 billion for the same purpose in the current fiscal year if not tracked and intercepted by the ICPC.
“The same preemptive move saved the country from spending N49.9 billion for salaries of ghost workers put on fictitious payroll by some fraudulent officers in the various MDAs between January and June this year.
“The names of the MDAs involved in project duplications running into intercepted billions of naira and fictitious pay rolls are available and will be forwarded to the (Senate Finance) 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 project duplication in the proposed N19.76 trillion 2023 budget.
“From our own end, the 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.
Obviously impressed by the submission of the ICPC boss, the Senate Committee through its Chairman, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), said the operational cost of the agency would be increased from its current N1.8 billion.
Adeola said, “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 N1.8billion will be increased as required impetus for more proactive measures against corrupt practices across the various MDAs.”
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