The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has said it began the process of disposing of the assets forfeited to the Federal Government on Friday.
The development is in line with the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act (POCA) signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 12, according to the body.
The ICPC also said it is set to commence phase five of the constituency and executive projects tracking exercise involving 712 government- funded projects. According to the anticorruption body, the exercise will begin on Tuesday in 20 states.
In a statement yesterday, spokesman for the Commission Mrs. Azuka Ogugua said the latest exercise followed “the successful completion of the fourth phase earlier in the year”. She listed the states to be tracked as Kaduna, Jigawa, Sokoto, Katsina, Kwara, Niger, Kogi, Cross River, Delta, Rivers and Ogun. Others are Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Borno, Bauchi and Gombe.
The agency said: “As with other tracking carried out by the ICPC since the kick-off in 2019, the objective of Phase 5 is to investigate fraudulent procurement practices in awarding contracts for the selected projects across the country.
It aims to ensure that all government-funded projects are executed fully to their specifications and to make recoveries where the project costs are inflated by contractors or are poorly executed. “The Commission in the Fourth Phase successfully tracked 538 projects across nine focal areas of health, education, power, water resources, works, housing, agriculture, transport, and environment.
“The exercise was conducted in 19 states across the six geopolitical zones and the FCT, including Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Enugu, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Edo, Delta, Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue, Adamawa, Yobe, Taraba, Borno and the FCT.
“Some of the findings from Phase 4 include the discovery of N7.1 billion worth of padded projects, some contractors who had abandoned project sites being compelled to return to different sites to complete N10.9 billion worth of projects, while N6.8 billion worth of recoveries (cash and assets) have been made so far.”
While recalling that no fewer than 109 out of the 543 selected projects in Phase 4, amounting to N1,176,867,800, were found to have been inserted, which effectively turned them into Zonal Intervention Projects, the ICPC said intelligence revealed that the insertions were done by legislators and some members of the executive arm of the government in the budget-making process.