The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), yesterday, lamented that despite concerted efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari’s to eradicate corruption, the scourge still persists.
Mustapha and Sagay, spoke at an event, ‘One-day dialogue session on strengthening the anti-corruption agenda: Ensuring accountability and transparency’ in Abuja where they highlighted steps needed to be taken to strengthen the government’s anti-corruption agenda.
Goodwill messages were delivered at the event by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Sulieman Kwari, the Director of Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and organizers of the event, Idayat Hassan, and Director, Africa Office, MacArthur Foundation, Kole Shettima, the funding partner.
The SGF who spoke through the Permanent Secretary, Special Services, Amina Shamaki, disclosed that the Buhari administration since 2015 had recorded successes in the fight against corruption by securing “the most number of convictions, including very high profile personalities and making world record recoveries in terms of money and assets.”
He, however, lamented that despite the successes recorded, the anti-graft war had not been won.
“We should not rest on our oars with the illusion that the war has been won despite the level of the successes I have enumerated. While the fight has been very successful in tackling monumental corruption, less grandeur cases are perceived and even reported.
“While the government has displayed uncommon courage to relieve its appointees especially, in its agencies, of their positions and responsibilities, there still exist some level of infractions on Public Procurement Act, and other laws. These tend to diminish the efforts of government in this direction,”Mustapha said.
The SGF expressed the need to bring about “innovative legislations, policies and measures to deal decisively with the lingering acts of corruption.”
In addition, he posited that the roles of audit departments/units and auditors in aiding and abetting corruption in ministries, departments and agencies should be addressed.
Boss Mustapha called for the prosecution of auditors who sanction corrupt payments alongside the main culprits in corruption cases.
“I should like to see the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation come up with innovative policies and measures to empower auditors to halt any payment that is clearly in breach of Public Procurement Act, Financial Regulations, Public Service Rules in particular, and other laws, in general.
“For such auditors that compromise, or are complicit, such policies and measures should isolate them for disciplinary action which should not preclude prosecution,” Mustapha said.
Prof. Sagay listed the consequences of corruption to include “massive unemployment, unequipped clinics and hospitals, wretched schools, colleges and universities without facilities.