Nigeria: Universities, Health Institutions 'Worst Culprits' in Salary Budget Padding - ICPC

10 December 2019

New ICPC Chairman, Bolaji Owasanoye, speaking with State House correspondents after the inauguration of the new board by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.

A system study review by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission has identified health and tertiary education institutions as the worst culprits in the padding of salary budgets.

The spokesperson of ICPC, Rasheedat Okoduwa, stated this on Tuesday on Channels Television's Sunrise Daily morning programme.

She said the agency launched its System Study Review at the National Summit on 'Diminishing Corruption in the Public Service' in Abuja on November 19.

Ms Okoduwa cited the case of the Federal Medical Centre, Bayelsa, which she said had over N900 million as surplus in its salary purse.

She said the case was flagged when the management team of the centre was summoned to clarify the rationale behind the surplus.

Worst Culprits

Mrs Okoduwa said the management of the centre gave the excuse that the personnel cost was inflated in order to execute projects which the government did not approve for the centre.

"Within January to July, you are still having balances on your salaries, how come? Because ordinarily, you should have exhausted your salary if you paid everybody and nobody complained you did not pay them," she asked.

"How come all of a sudden, you are having N30 million, N50 million left on your salary may be for a particular MDA? It shows you had padded your nominal roll ab initio and you have paid those who are actually on the ground.

"For example, they have been drawing down on such monies and using them for travels when they are not supposed to use that.

"ICPC, in doing that, brought out the report that health institutions, universities... they are the worst culprits," she stated.

She said the ICPC conducted the system study to follow up with institutions that fall in the partially-compliant and non-compliant categories towards ensuring noticeable changes.

The ICPC spokesperson said where such changes were not seen, the agency would impose a new system on erring individuals and agencies before the enforcement stage and make it criminal.

She added that the study has had effects on the MDAs as their heads and some ministers in other cases approached the ICPC on how to correct their wrongs.

She said the government was enforcing enrolment in the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) so as to intensify the fight against corruption.

"We have saved about N18 billion right now that we told the government, in the words of my chairman, 'restrain the money,'" said Mrs Okoduwa.

She said some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that were not on IPPIS have been made to join the scheme.

"It is even more than N18 billion right now. The Ministry of Finance is capturing them now on IPPIS but their personnel expenditure alone, we've restrained over N18 billion," she said.

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