Ekpo Nta, immediate past Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), says he took over the reins of the anti-corruption commission when it had a crisis of identity.
He said the ICPC was floating between being a law enforcement and civil service organisation, which was worsened by the commission’s dilapidated physical structure.
Nta stated this during his handover ceremony after serving six years as ICPC Chairman.
He handed over to Abdullahi Bako, a board member of the commission, who would be acting pending Bolaji Owasanoye’s assumption of duty subject to confirmation by the Senate.
While noting that the situation dampened his enthusiasm, he added that it spurred him into picking up the challenge of not leaving the commission the way he met it.
He disclosed that the first task before him and his board members was to rightfully place ICPC where it belonged, based on the commission’s enabling law,
He highlighted his achievements to include a high rate of investigation and prosecution of corruption cases, the introduction of preventive measures to check corruption in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and the spike in publicity for the commission’s activities on its website and in the media.
Other achievements were listed as publishing of three volumes of ICPC law reports, improving the staff clinic to cater to the health of suspects in the commission’s custody, as well as the intervention and support by UNODC for the Commission’s work.
He commended the management committee and staff of the commission for “a wonderful working period”, stating that the commission’s staff were intellectuals who usually stood out at trainings and workshops featuring participants from other organisations.
Abdullahi Bako, the Acting Chairman, acknowledged that Nta had done a lot to project a positive image for the Commission.
He noted that the achievements made Nta, as ICPC Chairman, to be the first African to be appointed a board member of the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), Vienna, Austria.
Bako pleaded for the support of the management within the period he would act as Chairman while urging all staff to continue to be disciplined, and build on what they had learnt from the out-gone Chairman by striving for excellence.
Ekpo Nta was appointed Acting Chairman of ICPC by former President Goodluck Jonathan at the swearing-in ceremony of the Commission’s Board Members in November 2011, before he became the substantive Chairman in 2012 for a period of five years.
Bako, the Acting Chairman, is a current two-term member of the ICPC Board.
He is a lawyer, Notary Public and Fellow of Charted Institute of Arbitration, who represents the north-east geopolitical zone and was first appointed an ICPC board member in 2009.