BARELY 24 hours after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reacted to the latest ranking of Nigeria by the Transparency International (TI), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has also criticised TI for turning blind-eye to the Federal Government’s initiatives designed to prevent corruption.
The Commission said on Friday that innovations such as the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Treasury Single Account (TSA), Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) among others were not considered by the international organisation.
ICPC boasted of its record of secured convictions, successful prosecutions including the recent initiative on the Constituency Projects regarded as the conduit pipe for federal lawmakers to siphon public funds.
The Commission described the new ranking as unfair and untenable.
“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,” the ICPC stated on its website.
“ICPC hereby states categorically that the report is unfair and untenable as Transparency International has consistently failed to recognise the efforts of the government to tame corruption. These efforts include the 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’.”
It stated further that, “More importantly, the strides of government in relation to corruption prevention measures appear to have been totally ignored. Perception is one thing, the 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.
“The reality is that the government has put in place several mechanisms to ensure transparency in the management of its financial affairs. The IPPIS, GIFMIS, TSA and more recently the portal www.opentreasury.gov.ng are examples in point.”
The AI had on Thursday ranked Nigeria 146 out of 180 countries with severe cases of corruption. It only dropped two steps compared to 144 which it ranked in 2018.
According to the Commission, the government has been proactive in its anti-corruption drive attributing this to why the 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, it noted, provided important policy recommendations to the government on corruption prevention which its reportedly being acted on.
“It should be noted that Nigeria currently leads Africa in asset recovery. These assets are proceeds of corruption which would have been permanently lost to the country. Denying perpetrators the benefit of their loot is a potent strategy in anti-corruption work.”
“Nigeria 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,” the statement added.
However, the Commission restated its commitment to promoting transparency and accountability in the country.
It advised the TI to make public its research parameters such that its data could be disaggregated and publicly screened.