Corruption: presidency, NASS, INEC, ministries for probe

President Obasanjo yesterday ordered special anti-corruption audits of key government departments and institutions.

President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday ordered special anti-corruption audits of key government departments and institutions including the Presidency, National Assembly and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The order, according to Information and National Orientation Minister, Professor Jerry Gana, was necessary in view of complaints of large-scale corruption in the affected institutions.

The ministries under probe, according to a statement include, the Ministry of Works and Housing, the Judiciary, Ministries of Power and Steel, Water Resources, Education, Agriculture and Rural Development, Transport, Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, Health and the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“In furtherance of the commitment of this administration to anti-corruption campaign, prevention of waste in government transactions, and ensuring value-for-money in public expenditure, it has become necessary to institute special audits into the accounts of the large spending organs, departments, agencies and institutions of government,” Prof. Gana said.

He said the audits would cover the period of June 1999 to date, stressing that despite all efforts to curb corruption, information reaching President Obasanjo was that the situation has not changed.

“Corruption, waste, and mismanagement of government resources are still going on, especially in some government ministries, departments and parastatals which are large spenders, as they implement priority projects.”

He said government has granted a substantial salary increase to improve on the well-being of public officers and public functionaries, in order to dissuade them from corrupt practices.

“As a way of demonstrating probity and accountability in government affairs, the administration also introduced due process certification among other guidelines declared, saying various anti-corruption workshops as well as retreats were held as part of the crusade against corrupt practices,” he added.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Justice also announced in a statement that President Obasanjo has set up a five-man commission of inquiry to investigate bribery allegations against officials of INEC, some of whom were accused of receiving gratifications from a consortium of solicitors whose services had been retained by the commission.

According to the Justice Minister, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN), government cannot close its eyes to such allegations of corrupt practices in INEC, “given the gravity of its functions, hence the decision to investigate the commission,” he added.

The terms of reference of the commission of inquiry include, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the retention of the services of the KDIO consortium, fees paid for the services to be rendered, justification for the said fees, and the monies paid by the firm of solicitors to officials of INEC, and the purpose for which the payment was made.

The Commission of Inquiry chaired by Chief Augustine N. Anyamene (SAN) has Chief Patrick B. Etta, Mr. Peter Gana, Mr. Ebenezer Obeya and Alhaji Ahmed Abdullahi Yola as Secretary. They have 20 days to submit a report to President Obasanjo.

Suleiman Mohammed And Ismaila Lere, Daily Trust (Abuja),  August 14, 2002

Categories: Corruption, Odious Debts

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