Sunday, September 25, 2022
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Corruption: ICPC uncovers about N50bn ‘ghost’ workers’ salaries

The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) revealed that the N13.59trillion 2021 budget was padded by the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, with duplicated projects worth N300b.

According to Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye who is the ICPC Chairman, during an interface with the Senate Committee on Finance, projects duplication worth N100 billion were also inserted into the N17.12 trillion 2022 budget by some MDAs asides the N49.9b tracked as salary for ghost workers between January and June this year.

Owasanoye explained that the N300billion duplicated projects in the 2021 budget and N100 billion in the 2022 budget were tracked through scrutinisation carried out on approved projects for the various MDAs.

The ICPC boss stated, ‘’N300billion would have been wasted by the Federal government on duplicated projects inserted into the 2021 budget and N100 billion for same purpose in the current fiscal year if not tracked and intercepted by ICPC.”

‘’The same pre-emptive move saved the country from spending N49.9billion for salaries of ghost workers put on fictitious payroll by the fraudulent MDAs between January and June this year.”

Owasanoye added that the names of MDAs involved in project duplications running into intercepted billions of Naira and fictitious payrolls, are available and will be forwarded to the 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.

He added, “From our own end, detection of such projects is done by verifying their locations and names, upon which we tell the appropriate authorities not to release wrongly budgeted monies for them.”

The chairman, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, who was delighted by the progress on behalf of the committee said the operational cost of the agency will be increased from N1.8 billion.

He added, “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 the required impetus for more proactive measures against corrupt practices across the various MDAs.”

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