…honours three for integrity
President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to punish any government official found guilty of job racketeering and sanction any agency substituting new projects for ongoing ones in the country.
The President said this yesterday while declaring open the 3rd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector in Abuja.
At the Summit were the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad and a representative of the Senate President Ahmed Lawan amongst others.
In a release by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President also at the occasion honoured three Nigerians with Integrity Awards.
Speaking of corrupt officials, the President warned that the government would sanction those who bring in personnel into the public workforce by illegal recruitment, pad their payroll and retain ghost workers.
While warning that his administration would not hesitate to punish Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that fraudulently present new projects as ongoing projects in the budget, Buhari said: “We reduced the cost of governance by maintaining our promise to complete abandoned or ongoing projects commenced by previous administrations and have ensured that MDAs do not put forward new capital projects at the expense of ongoing projects.
“Government has, however, noted from the activities of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) that some MDAs have devised the fraudulent practice of presenting new projects as ongoing projects.
“Necessary action and sanctions will continue against the heads of such errant MDAs. I am confident that ICPC will continue to maintain the vigilance required of her by the ICPC Act in this regard.”
Describing the theme of the summit as auspicious, the President said it offered the stakeholders an opportunity to offer suggestions on ways to further reduce the cost of governance and promote transparency and accountability in government expenditure.
The three recipients of the integrity awards were Nelson Okoronkwo, Deputy Director, Legal, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture; Muhammad Ahmad, Assistant Commander of Narcotics, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and Ikenna Nweke, a Ph.D. student, from Imo State, studying in Japan.
Okoronkwo, who was recognised for his consistent acts of integrity in the different ministries where he served, is a committee member on fertilizer distribution that led to the recovery of billions of naira from racketeers with collaborators within the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
He was credited to have reported corrupt practices that led to the Ogoni clean-up investigation in the Federal Ministry Environment.
As Committee Chairman on Illegal Recruitment in the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the Deputy Director facilitated the detection and removal of over 3000 fake employers from the Service thereby saving the government millions of naira in terms of salaries and emoluments.
The NDLEA officer, Ahmad, was recognised for demonstrating the highest ideals and standards of the public service in the discharge of his responsibilities.
Also a recipient of the Chairman/Chief Executive Award for Outstanding Performance and Integrity, Ahmad recently recovered and declared to his Agency the sum of $24,500 offered to him as a bribe by a drug baron to compromise an investigation of 27.950 kg of cocaine, worth billions of naira
Nweke, the Nigerian Ph.D. student in Japan who found a wallet containing a very large amount of money and other valuables returned it to the Japanese police.
He declined 10 per cent of the money offered to him as a reward.