ICPC recovers looted money from Ministry of Agriculture

ICPC has recovered looted money from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture
ES
Ernest Sunday

Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has recovered looted money worth N16 billion from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

The Chairman of ICPC Prof. Bolaji Owasanye revealed the recovery during a virtual meeting of the 2nd National Summit on Anti-Corruption in the Public Sector.

The meeting titled "Together Against Corruption" was organised by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in collaboration with ICPC to mark Nigeria’s Diamond Jubilee and ICPC’s 20th anniversary.

According to Owasanye, the money was given to the ministry during the COVID-19 pandemic to make palliatives to Nigerians, but the money was never used for the project they stated.

He added that the ICPC tracked the money which they moved to an offline account until they found out it was given to individuals in the ministry that used them on unofficial projects.

“While the investigation was ongoing albeit delayed due to COVID-19, the bulk of the money restrained in CBN was released in the peak of the pandemic when the ministry appealed to the commission that it needed to make palliatives to Nigerians upon Presidential directives.

“The commission is tracking the prescribed use of the funds up till now,’’ he said.

“One individual from the ministry now deceased, appropriated over N2.5b to himself and cronies.”

Owasanye said that the ICPC was established for over 20 years to fight against corruption and punish any corruption-related offences. He disclosed that the office had handled over 20, 000 petitions.

Secretary to the President Boss Mustapha commended the ICPC for their fight against corruption which he said hinders the progress of the country

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, commended the ICPC for their work and said that President Buhari administration came to fight against corruption as it the only thing that hinders the country from going forward.

“Mr President has at home and abroad canvassed the imperative to put in place policies and measures to reduce corruption.

“Over the years, corruption has hindered government from attaining critical objectives and national development plans.

“The surest way that we, as a nation, can realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our core national objectives is to reduce corruption significantly.

“Mr President has firmly underscored the need for effective action against corruption by this administration by the introduction of policies and measures to reduce corruption particularly in the public sector of our country,’’ he said.

Mustapha added that fighting against corruption in the public sectors is a key to reduce corruption among individual sectors in Nigeria.

“In this wise, if the public service is marred in corrupt practices, it provides an unfettered opportunity for the private sector and other Nigerians to engage in such practices.

“However, if the public service abides by the required rules and regulations for conducting businesses, such opportunities are reduced if not eliminated and they will form the bulk work in dealing with corrupt practices,” Mustapha said.

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