“With enormous stolen resources, elements have attempted to compromise law enforcing institutions and pervert the course of justice.”
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has accused looters of the nation’s enormous resources of attempting to compromise law enforcing institutions and perverting the course of justice.
This comes as the president has vowed that his administration would continue to implement policies aimed at building resilient systems that can withstand the activities of corrupt officials.
President Buhari said this Monday at the opening of Corruption Risk Assessment training for heads and senior officials of Anti-Corruption Agencies in the African Union, and presentation of the report on the Corruption Risk Assessment of Nigeria’s e-government systems, at the State House Conference Center, Abuja.
He reminded the participants from 22 African countries that the fight against corruption “is a battle for the souls of our different countries and it is one that we must win. Since independence our continent has suffered from the severe consequences of corruption and it is imperative that we take steps to reverse the trend.”
Buhari recalled that on assumption of office in May 2015, “the pervasive nature and devastating impact of corruption on the Nigerian nation had become dysfunctional. The momentum for our electoral victory could not be separated from the revolt of the people against glaring endemic corruption.
“During the past several months, we have been taking steps to institute integrity and transparency in the processes of government and holding those who have plundered our commonwealth to account for their actions.
“However, the costs of recovery and sanctions are also enormous. While commendable successes have been recorded, it has become manifest that corruption fights back. With enormous stolen resources, elements have attempted to compromise law enforcing institutions and pervert the course of justice.
“This realization highlights the necessity of building a system that focuses on preventing corruption. We continue to implement policies aimed at building resilient systems that can withstand assault by corrupt officials.”
President Buhari listed steps his administration has taken to build resilient systems that can withstand corruption: “the full implementation of both the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN), the Open Government Partnership, various Executive Orders, strengthening the Anti-Corruption Agencies and permitting their full autonomy.
“It is in this context of building robust preventive systems that we must understand this initiative which aims to train leaders of anti-corruption agencies in the African Union by deploying Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology for corruption prevention in our countries.
“Corruption Risk Assessment seeks to identify corruption-prone processes and procedures in organisations and recommend appropriate remedial steps. The methodology places a premium on prevention as an effective complement to enforcement in the war against corruption.”
The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Usman Abubakar, in his remarks said, when loopholes and leakages in the systems are plugged, people will be denied access to public funds and as such will not have the opportunity to misappropriate it.
“This is against pursuing individuals after the the deed is done, an action that drains a lot of resources admits challenges that create uncertainty of the outcomes. To this end, ICPC stands on the principle that an ounce of prevention is worth more than anyone of remedy.
“We have gathered the anti-corruption agencies in Africa in order to impart this special skill to cascade it down to AU states as part of Nigeria’s contribution in minimizing corruption on the continent.”
Abubakar said the report presented reveals that the deployment of TSA, IPPIS and GIFMIS has significantly reduced bureaucratic corruption in Nigeria.
“This is attributable to factors such as reduction in human interface; elimination of direct access to cash resources; easy tracing of transactions; oversight of the payroll by the responsible agencies etc. The payment systems are however not foolproof as our findings reveal that there is need for us to maintain a vigilant watch over their operations.
“We therefore request Mr president to mandate the stakeholders to note the in-depth work conducted on these systems and implement the remedial measures proffered in the report.”
The Chairman of ECOWAS Commission, AU and Country representative of the United Nations on Drug and Crime all presented goodwill messages.