We are investigating job racketeering in security agencies – ICPC
Of Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman of the Independent Commission on Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses (ICPC), revealed that investigations are underway to uncover numerous cases of racketeering in the security sector as well as spending on military contracts.
Owasanoye also called for a review of public procurement policies to reduce corrupt practices in the country.
The ICPC Chairman spoke on Friday at the National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Insecurity in Nigeria organized by the Commission.
He said the purpose of the dialogue was to broaden stakeholders’ perspectives on the causes, enablers and policy gaps that limited the country’s ability to decisively and comprehensively abolish insecurity within its borders. .
According to him, the research and findings of the ICPC have shown how corruption in the public sector, directly and indirectly, promotes insecurity and can sometimes amplify it.
The chairman of CIPC cited information from the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) when he claimed that $15 billion had been lost to shady arms deals in the country over the past 20 years.
He said, “Recently, the ICPC arrested a military contractor who received over a period of less than ten years a cumulative sum of approximately N6 billion from the Nigerian military under suspicious circumstances and in violation of the legislation.
“The Commission’s recovery of huge sums of money in local and foreign currency, luxury cars, personalized cell phones, designer watches, including three Rolexes, and property documents from the premises of the contractor pointed to the corruption that often accompanies military purchases.
“Some former military and security personnel are being investigated by the ICPC and our sister agency for embezzlement of security funds.
“Another case under investigation is the theft of parts of the approved special response fund for security operations by some line ministry officials who transferred around N1 billion to four front companies.
“A special investigation team under the direction of the NSA and ICPC has recovered some of the misappropriated assets, including a state-of-the-art building located in Abuja and over N220 million in cash. The investigation into this case is still ongoing.
“The newly created Special Police Response Framework designed to eliminate police underfunding, the Police Trust Fund, is already under investigation by CPIC for abuse, bogus embezzlement, questionable social packaging that is not intended for the police who are a beneficiary of the fund and various corrupt practices.
Owasanoye said the Commission was working with other anti-corruption agencies to look into cases of financial abuse in defense sector procurement procedures.
“As the ICPC and EFCC investigate some of these anomalies, our efforts will achieve little without proactive preventative measures and a review of existing procurement practices,” he added.
“The Commission is working with other anti-corruption agencies to investigate misappropriation of funds in defense sector procurement practices.
“ICPC, as part of its statutory mandate to prevent corruption by reviewing the systems, processes and practices of government agencies and with a view to making improvements where they predispose to corruption, has, through its research and training branch, convened this political dialogue,” he noted.