Reps probe illegal recruitments, job racketeering, others in MDAs




          

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate illegal recruitments, nominal roll padding and duplication of projects by federal government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

This was the highpoint of the House plenary in Abuja Thursday.

It also mandated its committees on anti-corruption and public service to probe the nominal rolls of the MDAs and report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.

Further to this, the House would also set up an ad hoc committee Tuesday to separately investigate project and duplication of budget by the MDAs.

The resolution was sequel to a motion by Hon. Dachung Bagos(PDP-Plateau) and titled ‘Call to Investigate the High Level of Corruption on Nominal Rolls of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the Country.’

The motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers.

ICPC on MDA’s shady deals

The motion was coming a day after Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission Professor Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN) decried the rising cost of governance and rising personnel budget.

Owasanoye blamed it on illegal recruitment and unilateral increase in wages and remuneration by some MDAs, including the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity.

He spoke Wednesday in Abuja at the Third National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector.

At yet another level, Owasanoye said some individuals within the service corruptly employed unsuspecting Nigerians, issued them fake letters of employment, enrolled them on IPPIS and posted them to MDAs.

On project monitoring, the ICPC boss said the agency was tracking at least 1,083 projects across the country with the exception of Borno and Zamfara states due to security challenges.

 “We have so far initiated enforcement actions against 67 contractors and forced them back to site and ensured completion of 966 projects worth N310bn, some of which were hitherto abandoned.

“Other challenges relate to duplication of projects in the budget. ICPC’s review found that 257 projects amounting to N20.138bn were duplicated in the 2021 budget, leading us to submit an advisory to the HMF which was promptly actioned by the Minister to prevent abuse.”

Similarly,  President Muhammadu Buhari, who was also at the event, revealed  some MDAs were in the habit of presenting ongoing projects as new ones in their budgets, promising to sanction heads of such MDAs.

The motion

In moving the motion, Hon. Bogos said:  “Concerned that the corrupt practices are carried out in all facet of the activities of the MDAs, with the highest list been the issue of payroll padding and ghost workers’ retention, these funds find their way into the pockets of the Chief Executives, Officers/ Heads of the MDAs at the expense of the nation.

“Also concerned that this corrupt practices had diverted the country’s revenue meant to be channelled into economic development and capital projects.

“The House notes the report of high level corruption being perpetrated in ministries, departments and agencies in the country.

“President Mohammadu Buhari, on November 30, 2021, ordered the ICPC to take actions against heads of MDAs and other personnel involved in project racketeering, budget and payroll padding as well as ghost worker’s retention;

“The Chairman of the ICPC also stated that the review of the 2021 budget led to the discovery of 257 duplicated projects with a combined worth of N20.138bn,” the lawmaker further said.

Announcing the resolution of the House, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila gave the committees 10 weeks to complete its assignment and report to plenary for further legislative actions.

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