4th February 2019
ILLEGAL DIVERSION OF GOVERNMENT REVENUES: CACOL URGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ENSURE STRINGENT BLOCKAGE OF LOOPHOLES
While inaugurating the new board of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, the immediate past secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, PACAC, in Abuja on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari acknowledged that, over three (3) years into his government, some agencies of government still divert or refuse to fully account for revenue generated despite his government’s anti-corruption drive.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, in a press release issued by its Coordinator for Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, the Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran noted, “What the President Buhari’s government publicly stated today at the swearing-in ceremony of the new board of ICPC, headed by a seasoned anti-corruption crusader of international repute and pedigree, is a confirmation of our principled position that, irrespective of commendable strives that been made by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and ICPC, under this administration, some government agencies and officials still behave as if it is still business as usual. We would all recollect that before the advent of this administration in 2015, the pattern was for many government agencies and parastatals like the Joint Admission Board (JAMB), etc., to always cry out for government’s subvention by insisting that it could not break even from what it was charging candidates sitting for its examinations, but since Buhari’s government came on board, this same institution has been declaring billions of Naira as surplus after breaking even and conducting a more credible and acceptable examinations across the country. The same scenario has played out with our Customs Service Unit where the serious difference has been made in what accrues to the country as revenues from excise and other duties, which also runs into billions of Naira in returns.
“However, this does not in any way mean that every loophole has been blocked, even with those agencies with better returns and healthier bill. Our position is that, with greater technology and supervision, more revenues should accrue while, as the president noted, those who still carry on as if nothing has changed with our corruption index or culture with all the body language and mannerism of this government since its assumption into office, would be exposed and dealt with to serve as a deterrent. It is clear that what Nigeria loses annually to these sharp practices run into trillions of Naira, so you can imagine how much of reprieve could come to Nigerians if all these loopholes are properly tackled. The honest truth is just that this thing has been with us for a long time and now that the country seems to have a president that is quite a concern about what corruption has done to us as a nation, we need to seriously collaborate with him to root this evil out. While we agree that the journey has not been too smooth or unequivocal as we would have loved it to be, it is still gratifying and portends serious cause for renewed hope and assurance that in sustaining the momentum and applying new strategies against official graft in high places, we may actually breathe a new lease of life as a nation.”
The CACOL Boss added, “As the president rightly noted, the ICPC as a complement agency in the fight against corruption in the country may not have functioned so effectively in its statutory duties as envisaged and this is why a major technocrat and proven professional has been called to duty to reverse its fortunes. It behooves on the new leadership to devise ingenious and modern ways of tackling new methods and devises used to perpetrate all these corruption acts that deny the government and the people of Nigeria, needed resources. With Professor Bolaji Owasanoye now at the saddle, we look forward to a more vigorous and remarkable approach towards curtailing corruption, once and for all.”