From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offices Commission (ICPC) has denied accusations of certificate falsification among its staff.
ICPC said media reports which alleged that about 50 members of its staff who appeared before the board’s subcommittee on verification of staff certificates and service records and had irregularities in their age and credentials were inaccurate.
In a statement issued by its Spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, ICPC described all the claims, including that a plan had been hatched to exonerate offenders tagged ‘loyalists’ and those it claimed have been recruited under the current Board, as ‘spurious’ and ‘an attempt to malign the Chairman and Board members.’
It said the reports were intended to undermine the reforms being undertaken by the current leadership of the ICPC.
The statement reads:
‘The attention of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offices Commission (ICPC) has been drawn to an inaccurate report titled “Certificate, Age Scandal Rocks ICPC” published on Monday, 15th November 2021 by the Daily Trust Newspaper.
‘The Commission strongly refutes in its entirety attempts by the newspaper to malign the Hon. Chairman and Board members with spurious claims that a plan had been hatched to exonerate offenders tagged “loyalists” and those it claimed have been recruited under the current Board.
‘This is therefore to set the record straight regarding the ongoing certificate verification exercise by the Commission, as the report by the Daily Trust seems intended to undermine the reforms being undertaken by the current leadership of the ICPC.
‘The certificate verification exercise commenced in 2019 with the request by the current Board for screening of all officers by the Department of State Services (DSS). The verification by the DSS is aimed at making the process independent and transparent. The exercise is ongoing and not yet concluded. Verification exercises have been conducted in the past by the DSS, and therefore the current exercise is not a new one.
‘Another routine verification exercise in all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) was commenced by the Federal Government through the IPPIS earlier in the year, to clear discrepancies in public service personnel records. The Commission created an in-house team to carry out verification of its staff records as supplementary to the one set up by the Government.
‘This internal verification exercise is still ongoing and no report of anomaly has yet been received from the Committee by the Board. That being the case the issue of “soft landing” therefore does not arise and the Daily Trust’s report is preemptive and erroneous.
‘The Commission will act on the findings and recommendations of its Verification Exercise Committee, including prosecution of offenders, where necessary.
‘The newspaper’s claim that “agitations for the Commission to beam its searchlight on its staff also heightened with the case of an ex-female staff member that left the ICPC to join the NDIC but was later sacked upon discovery that she was parading forged credentials” is also inaccurate. It needs to be unequivocally stated that the case of the ex-female staff occurred prior to the assumption of office by the current Board.
‘The ICPC will not be distracted by sponsored reports in the media, and threats to the Board as it will continue to execute its mandate and reforms in the Commission without fear or favour.’