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The anti-corruption agency, ICPC, says an estimated N77 billion was recovered in assets as part of its efforts in the fight against corruption in 2019.

This was revealed in an infographic report sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday on the 2019 activities of the commission.

The amount was recovered through “operations, interim and final forfeitures on court orders on persons accused of corruption in 2019”.

The report also showed how the commission ‘prevented’ over 200 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the country from squandering N41.98 billion unspent funds last year.

Responding to an inquiry, the ICPC spokesperson, Rashidat Okoduwa, explained that the commission had reviewed the total expenditure cost of some MDA’s and discovered some excess monies meant for the payment of personnel on credit after it had paid salaries.

Mrs Okoduwa said the ICPC, therefore, approached the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and Planning “to restrain the MDA’s from accessing the money and return it to the treasury, so not to leave these monies to be misappropriated”.

She said, ”We found out when we did the review of MDAs which we did last year, we did several over 200 of them,” she said. ”We looked at their personnel cost expenditure, and we saw that they paid salaries from January to July, we saw balances with a different amount in credits for those MDAs.

”The ICPC approached the MDAs to question why they had so much left to (in) their credits, it was in doing that we found out that irregularities behind the large credits the MDAs had.

”We then advised the federal government not to release the monies, because if we had not informed the government, the MDAs had the monies in their credit, they can simply apply it as they wished.

”So we told the federal ministry of finance not to release the money and return it to the treasury, so not to leave these monies to be misappropriated.”

She noted that the money was not recovered in cash, “but it is monies we told the government, not to release.”

Cash recoveries

Out of the N77 billion recovered in assets, the anti-graft agency said it got a total of N1.2 billion in cash from persons accused of corruption while it recovered about N32 billion in immovable assets such as landed properties, building, and vehicles.

On its Constituency Projects Tracking Group (CPTG), garnered cash of about N767 million was recovered according to the ICPC 2019 corruption index from its 424 projects tracked in 2019.

2019 ICPC Performance 2019 ICPC Performance

The report also indicates that N1.1 billion worth of assets on completed projects were recovered “after contractors were forced back to the site.”

The zonal intervention project popularly known as constituency projects have been enmeshed in corruption in recent years.

The N100 billion per year allocated constituency projects are majorly sponsored by members of the National Assembly in their various constituencies.

Petitions & Convictions

Also in the report, the ICPC received a total of 1,934 petitions as at the last date of the year, while it concluded 580 petitions, of which 83 cases were filed in court, and 25 convictions secured.

Mrs Okoduwa explained that ”all petitions that come to ICPC are registered and captured, but we found that quite a good number of them do not belong to ICPC jurisdictions, we found out some are better handled by the police, EFCC, or other agencies”.

”Some of those petitions have been forwarded to other agencies of government, that is why we have a large disparity,” she added.

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