From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has partnered with the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC) to ensure accountability in the agency.
Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive, of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna made this known at a two-day capacity-building workshop on procurement organised by the agency and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in Abuja.
Haruna explained that the collaboration with the anti-graft agencies was made to educate and advise the agency on how to block loopholes that might aid corrupt tendencies among staff.
“We actually invited them (EFCC, ICPC) to scrutinise our operations and to advise us if there any loopholes or tendencies that certain things can be covered or an opportunity for someone to do things that are not in line with the extant laws.
“This is because they are professionals in that and by studying every aspect of the operations, they would be able to advise where they think there is a likelihood for leakages and this would also reimpose operational integrity.
“Though we have not experienced any but with our new status, we know that extra care is needed. Recall that we have been operating without fund and now that funding has come, there is a need to ensure that people do not lose focus and not be intoxicated by the resources that has come.
Haruna, further added that the training was important to ensure that principal officers are updated on the dynamics of procurement.
Earlier, chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, maintained that blocking and reforming skewed and crooked public systems was a veritable way to achieving a corruption free service.
Owasanoye represented by a commissioner in the ICPC, Senator Anthony Agbo stressed the need for every Ministry, Department and Agency in the public service to ensure effective and efficient system and procedures to curb corruption.
“Modern and appropriate mechanisms must be put in place for accountability and transparency in public procurement. A good start is compliance and adherence to the letter and spirit of the Public Procurement Act 2007, the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and related statutes. The essence of this training therefore cannot be over-emphasised as it promises to enhance the capacity of key officers to handle government business at all times to display and showcase integrity, efficiency and service delivery, he added
Auditor-General for the federation, Aghughu Adolphus, stated that the only way to curb wastages in public expenditure as well as coping with the attendant negative effects of Covid-19 pandemic is for stakeholders to maintain highest level of transparency, accountability and fiscal discipline in procurement.
He said attention should not only be on how to spend but how to meet the revenue target as well, especially in the wake of unstable crude oil price, a major revenue earner for the economy”
Represented by Apoti Salahu, the auditor-general outlined violations that are usually discovered from review of procurement processes of some government agencies which he said ranges from the award of contracts above the amount appropriated to pay for contracts not or poorly executed, among others.