The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said that the Transparency International (TI) report on Nigeria was unfair and untenable, echoing a similar reaction expressed Thursday by its sister anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Spokesperson of the Commission, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa in a statement on Friday said that TI has consistently failed to recognise the efforts of the present government to tame corruption in the country.
She added that these efforts included increasing number of cases filed in court and jail terms secured in several convictions against corrupt persons across all levels of society, including hitherto ‘sacred cows’.
According to her, in reality this government has put in place several mechanisms to ensure transparency in the management of its financial affairs.
She said that the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), THE Government Integrated Management Information System (GIFMIS), the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and more recently the portal www.opentreasury.
“ICPC finds it necessary to issue a statement on the 2019 Corruption Perception Index released recently by the Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption watchdog.
“The report ranked Nigeria 146 out of 180 countries with a score of 26 out 0f 100 and painted a dismal picture of the country’s anti-corruption efforts by placing Nigeria as the second most corrupt country in the West African region, ” she said.
“More importantly, the strides of government in relation to corruption prevention measures appear to have been totally ignored.
“Perception is one thing, reality is another. To lend credence to perception, it may be helpful to match it against reality especially when information on perception is coming from a source such as TI.
“In recognition of the seminal role of prevention in anti-corruption work, ICPC recently released its report of the system study and review exercise on the use of the Personnel Cost and Capital Development Fund in 201 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“Allied to this report is also the highly publicised work of the commission in tracking the use of the funds released for Constituency Projects and the report on the deployment of Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard in 280 MDAs.
“The reports on these initiatives provide very important policy recommendations to government on corruption prevention which are being acted on, including the restraining of several billions of Naira from release to MDAs.
“This which had stood the risk of misappropriation and embezzlement as well government’s recent directive that all MDAs including tertiary education and health institutions get captured on the IPPIS, ” she said.
Okoduwa added that this was done to encourage transparency and accountability on the use of Personnel Cost for Federal Government employees.
According to her, Nigeria currently leads Africa in asset recovery.
She noted that the country has also improved in its rating on open government standards as the government continues to operationalise the 14 commitments enunciated in the Nigeria OGP National Action Plan.
She further stated that it would be helpful if TI would publish its research parameters so its data could be disaggregated rather than build its rankings on a few issues such as political corruption.
“No doubt we are not yet where we ought to be, but we have not been stationary either.
“The country has moved well away from where it was a number of years back in terms of enforcement, prevention and citizen engagement against corruption.
“ ICPC is firmly persuaded that the silent majority of Nigerians appreciate the anti-corruption efforts of the government led by President Muhammadu Buhari even if TI does not.