- Says Obono-Obla still wanted person
BY VICTOR OSOWOCHI, ABUJA – The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is beating its chest in confidence for recovering N77.04 billion worth of stolen assets from suspects in year 2019.
According to the Commission, these recoveries, coming in cash and fixed assets, were made through physical operations as well as interim and final forfeitures ordered by the courts.
Spokesperson for the Commission, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, gave the information on Thursday at a media briefing on the activities and achievements of the anti-graft agency in the last one year.
Okoduwa said the breakdown of the figure Indicated N32.038 billion worth of land, buildings and vehicles; N767 million from project tracking; and N41.98 billion from frivolous personnel expenditure of Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Similarly, Okoduwa said a total of N1.097 billion was recovered from completed projects on return of contractors to site, while N1.16 billion was domiciled in the Single Treasury Account (TSA).
Also giving further details on the Commission’s activities, she disclosed that a total of 1,934 petitions were received by ICPC with investigations already concluded on 580 while the remaining ones outside its jurisdiction were referred to relevant anti-corruption agencies.
Okoduwa said of the 580 concluded investigations, 83 cases were filed in court with 25 convictions secured, adding; “You may probably be wondering the differences on petitions received from cases filed in court.
“The issue is that, all petitions that comes to ICPC are registered, captured and that’s what came about the 1,934 figures.
“We later discovered that quiet a good number of the petitions received doesn’t belong to ICPC jurisdiction. Or sometimes, we discovered that the petitions will be better handle by other agencies. So, we advised them to take it to the appropriate place because this is not for us.
“Several of the petitions have to be sent to the relevant required agencies that is why you have the large disparity between the received and achieved figures,” the ICPC spokesperson said.
Speaking about the clampdown on ICPC’s National Anti-Corruption Volunteer Corps (NAVC), Okoduwa said the action was taken following reports of abuse by certain state chapters that currently are being investigated.
She said NAVC was operational in six state chapters and had 1,826 volunteers, adding that the Commission is putting the programme on hold until “we re-engineer to know what best way to move forward”
On the fate of Barrister Okoi Obono-Obla, former Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Mrs Okoduwa insisted that he still remains a wanted person by ICPC.
“Yes, we have read in the media about his being available in the country, that he is making statements on social media platforms. We have also made statements to the effect that he should come out from hiding and present himself to ICPC. That is the only way he can clear his name, the only way to move forward”, she said.
Also responding during the question and answer session, Okoduwa said; “ICPC is not shy about naming and shaming of those suspected of corrupt practices but we have to work within the ambit of the law.
“We have named certain corrupt persons when we have reasons to go to court. We are not shy of exposing those who engage in corrupt practices; we only follow the law. Our ultimate goal in this anti-corruption war is about the betterment of the people.”
Maintaining that anti-graft campaign should not happen in a vacuum, the ICPC image maker said; “It should increase development; it should increase growth. It shouldn’t be about how many people you have thrown into prison.”