…SGF warns against embezzling public funds, contracts inflation
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Federal Government’s efforts in fighting corruption and deepening good governance in the country are being applauded across the globe.
Osinbajo, who described corruption as a threat to the nation’s existence, insisted that the scourge was the reason the nation had no savings and invested only very little in infrastructure and jobs in spite of record oil revenues from 2011 to 2014.
The Vice President said this on Monday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of a five-day Open Government Partnership Week 2018.
He said that within the period, despite the billions of dollars reportedly invested in security, the Boko Haram insurgency did not abate.
Osinbajo has recently come under criticisms by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for dwelling too much on the corruption under the previous administration.
While speaking on the topic, ‘The impact of Open Government Partnership to Nigeria’s Anti-Corruption Efforts’, Osinbajo said, “For too long, the resources meant for the majority have been sadly cornered by a greedy minority.”
He also said, “Our government came into office on the back of a three-pronged agenda: ensuring security, rebuilding the economy, and vigorously prosecuting the fight against corruption.
“This last issue, corruption, has been an existential issue for Nigeria, threatening the very fundamentals of our existence.
“It has ensured that, for too long, the resources meant for the majority have been sadly cornered by a greedy minority.
“This issue of corruption underlines every aspect of our national life, from our security situation to the state of our economy.
“It was the reason why, in spite of record oil revenues between 2011 and 2013/14, we saw no savings, and very little investment in infrastructure and jobs and, in spite of the billions of dollars reportedly invested in security, the Boko Haram insurgency did not abate.”
In his remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said that the government was waging an unprecedented fight against corruption through asset recovery, prosecution of acts of corruption, instituting new socio-economic systems and culture as well as rebuilding anti-corruption institutions to prevent future recurrence.
Mustapha also warned public servants in the country against embezzling public funds, over-invoicing of contracts and other forms of diversion of public resources to desist from such, as they are being watched by all stakeholders.
He added that the present administration has introduced policies and legislations that would help achieve goals set out in our OGP Commitments.
He said, “Already the whistle-blower policy introduced in 2017 has now taken root as part of our system for prevention, detection and minimising corruption. Government has given assurances that all information received will be treated with utmost confidentiality.
The SGF commended the partnership between government and civil society in fighting this scourge adding that “efforts such as what we have witnessed under this partnership go a long way in reassuring citizens of the commitment of the government.”
“In the past few weeks, some statistics have been bandied by many international organisations about the extent of corruption in Nigeria.
Many of these figures are useful and serve as a wakeup call for us to strengthen our institutions to confront the monster of corruption.
However, and regrettably, many of the institutions that produced these figures do not understand the contextual contours and the peculiarities of the corruption problem in Nigeria.
Often, they are hasty to arrive at conclusions and make generalizations which paint a picture of perception that is far from reality,” he added.
The SGF urged the forum to evolve a reliable indigenous professional and objective mechanism for measuring impact and disseminating information on the state of corruption in Nigeria.
“Through this mechanism, we will be able to generate reliable figures upon which we can craft our policy interventions. It is trite to say that our story is best told by us and we should never expect foreign eyes to see our corruption problems better than ourselves.
For the first time in Nigeria, secret ownership of companies and properties will be history when a public register of beneficial owners of companies will become open and operational.
Government has also received assurances from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) that in the immediate future, necessary dossier of persons with significant control over incorporated companies will be generated and made available on demand.
With all these complimentary efforts in place, I am confident that investigation of individuals involved in companies used for acts of corruption will become easier,” the SGF added.