The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission revealed on Thursday that the various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies had duplicated projects worth N300 billion to pad the N13.59 trillion 2021 budget.
During a meeting with the Senate Committee on Finance, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, the head of the anti-graft agency, also revealed that some MDAs had duplicated projects worth N100 billion and inserted them into the N17.12 trillion 2022 budget, including N49.9 billion in salaries for ghost workers between January and June of this year.
According to Owasanoye, the N100 billion in duplicate projects in the 2022 budget and the N300 billion in the 2021 budget were tracked through scrutiny of projects that were approved for the various MDAs.
The ICPC boss stated, “Three hundred billion nairas would have been wasted by the Federal Government on duplicated projects inserted into the 2021 budget and N100billion for the same purpose in the current fiscal year, if not tracked and intercepted by ICPC.
“The same preemptive move saved the country from spending N49.9billion for salaries of ghost workers put on fictitious payrolls by the fraudulent MDAs between January and June this year.”
Owasanoye noted that the names of MDAs involved in project duplications were available and would be forwarded to the committee.
“The good thing about the preemptive moves made by us is that monies for the fraudulent acts were prevented from being released to the affected MDAs and it is gratifying that the Finance Ministry and Accountant General Office cooperated with us,” he said.
He advised relevant committees of the National Assembly to be on the lookout for such project duplication in the proposed N19.76trillion 2023 budget.
He added, “From our end, detection of such projects is done by verifying their locations and names upon which we tell the appropriate authorities not to release wrongly budgeted monies for them.”
The Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, who was delighted by the progress, said the operational cost of the agency would be increased from N1.8billion.
He added, “This committee is impressed by proactive ways your commission is adopting in the fight against corruption.
“Your submissions clearly show that all hope is not lost for our dear country as far as fighting corruption is concerned.
“Your operational cost, which is N1.8billion, will be increased as the required impetus for more proactive measures against corrupt practices across the various MDAs.”