Senate lauds ICPC’s use of preventive approach on fight against corruption

Friday Ajagunna
Friday Ajagunna

The Senate has expressed support for the preventive strategy by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as an effective means of curbing corruption in Nigeria.

The Senate noted that the preventive approach required 60 percent of efforts by ICPC on fight against corruption.

This it said was in line with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

The Chairman, Senate committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Godfery Utazi who stated this during his committee’s oversight to the ICPC Headquarters, Abuja, said that emphasis on preventive measure was a more robust way of addressing the menace of corruption in developing countries like Nigeria.

He therefore advised that the remaining forty percent should be devoted equally to application of severe sanctions, public enlightenment and strengthening of ethics.

He promised the assistance of his Committee towards strengthening ICPC by means of reviewing the enabling law and provision that set it up.

“We shall meet every stakeholder, especially in the administration of justice to strengthen ICPC. We want you to give us information where you have bottlenecks in your operations. There is need for ICPC to be everywhere, its presence in 15 states is not adequate.

“It bothers us as a Committee that all what we hear about the fight against corruption is limited to the prosecution of alleged corrupt people most times. We want to hear more about prevention too. The United Nations Convention against Corruption talks greatly about prevention. I think that is what we should be looking at”.

The Senator also harped on the need to expose ICPC staff to international training, stressing that “such becomes necessary since is transnational.”

Exposure of ICPC staff to international training, he added would enable the Commission to maintain international best practices in the fight against corruption.

Earlier, ICPC Chairman, Ekpo Nta expressed delight in the Senate’s support for the Commission’s preventive approaches to the fight against corruption, which he noted, did not usually entail publicity as much as application of sanctions.

Nta said that even though ICPC also believed in the efficacy of severe sanctions through arrest and prosecution of offenders, the Senate’s understanding of its strategy on corruption prevention was most welcome.

He told the Senate Committee to count on ICPC on ability to brace the determination of the present Government’s to tackle corruption head-on, having drawn up new strategies to complement the desire of the government.

He pledged that ICPC would work hard and get more dedicated to the fight against corruption in line with the agenda of the government to this effect.

The Chairman, however briefed the Committee on how ICPC ran its 2015 Budget based on funds released for recurrent and capital votes and the resultant effect on operations, staff training, investigations, prosecutions and administration.

He lamented the sharp drop in the revenue of ICPC between the 2016 budget projection of N4.6 billion and that of 2015 appropriation of N4.9billion.

He prayed the Senate to offer assistance on need for increased revenue for ICPC for wider operations, reminding it of plans to renovate the headquarters complex due to its physical dilapidation over the years.

The oversight visit was concluded with a tour of the Petition Registry, detention center and other facilities around the premises.

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