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The Nigerian government has given itself a pass mark saying its effort in the fight against corruption is progressing in all sectors.

The government also said it convicted the highest number of persons for corruption in 2019 globally.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, stated this via a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday.

The briefing highlighted some of the government’s achievements in its fight against corruption in 2019.

It also mentioned key initiatives that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration launched in its efforts to strengthen transparency in the public sectors.

Mr Mohammed explained that the fight against corruption is progressing in all fronts, including “institutional reforms, loot recovery and prosecution of allegedly corrupt persons”.

He said this has remained the cardinal promises since the coming of the administration.

He also said between January and October 2019, the EFCC secured the highest number of convictions of high profile persons in the world “with a record of 890 convictions and the recovery of stolen funds that amounts to billions”.

”The fight against corruption also gained momentum within the period, with high profile convictions. Between January and October 2019 alone, that’s a period of 10 months, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) secured 890 convictions.

”This is the highest anywhere in the world. Recall that in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, the EFCC was only able to secure 103, 189, 190 and 202 convictions respectively. The high rate of convictions in 2019 is in addition to the billions of naira in looted funds that have been recovered by the EFCC,” he said.

In 2015, in his inaugural speech, President Muhammadu Buhari spoke about three cardinal promises of securing the lives and properties of Nigerians, restoring the economy, and fighting corruption. He said then, ”corruption will kill Nigeria if Nigeria does not kill corruption.”

Four years after, prominent politicians including former governors, and ministers who have been accused of corruption have had their days in court over graft.

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These include Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia State sentenced to 12 years and a former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, currently serving 14 years in prison.

Technology to combat corruption

Also in the briefing, the minister said the administration took a major step in the fight against corruption “when it launched various platforms and online portals in its efforts to curb the problem.”

He mentioned the Financial Transparency Policy and Portal, also known as Open Government, a policy that allows Nigerians to monitor government spending.

He said the initiative also mandates the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to publish a daily statement of payments from N5 million; monthly budget performance; quarterly financial statements; and annual financial statements prepared in compliance with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSAS).

He mentioned the recently launched mobile application ‘WAHALA DEY’ by the ICPC, which allows Nigerians to report acts of corruption.”

Mr Muhammed noted that President Buhari created the platforms in order to strengthen the government’s commitment to improving governance and supplementing the recently-launched Whistle-blower Policy.

Part of the minister’s statement is reproduced below :

”The ICPC has launched a novel project of tracking the huge resources allocated to constituency projects over the years. The Commission has started with the education and health sectors and, already, many contractors who abandoned their projects are returning to the site. The Commission has also launched the WAHALA DEY app, which is a one-stop-shop for daily information from the ICPC, and for Nigerians to report acts of corruption.

”The Administration’s fight against corruption is progressing on all fronts, including institutional reforms, loot recovery and prosecution of alleged corrupt persons. As you are aware, this is one of the cardinal programmes of the Administration, with the others being the revamping of the economy and tackling insecurity

”The administration took a major step forward in the fight against corruption when it launched the Financial Transparency Policy and Portal, also known as Open Government. The Transparency Policy mandates the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to publish a Daily Treasury Statement, which will provide information about what comes into the national treasury and what goes out every day.

”Under the policy, the Accountant General of the Federation and all Accounting Officers must publish Daily Payments Reports. With these reports, the Treasury will publish payments of at least 10 million Naira while all MDAS must publish payments above 5 million Naira made out of all public funds in their care. The information to be published must include the Ministry, Department, and Agency (MDA) responsible, the beneficiary, the purpose and the amount of each payment.

”Accounting Officers are (now) responsible for providing answers to any questions from the public relating to transactions completed by entities under their charge.”

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