On November 8, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission will begin tracking 712 government-funded projects across the country.
Azuka Ogugua, the Commission’s spokesperson, made the announcement on Sunday in Abuja.
It will be the fifth phase of the commission’s constituency and executive projects.
Earlier this year, the commission announced the successful completion of the fourth phase.
The fifth phase, according to Ogugua, will involve tracking 712 government-funded projects in 21 states spread across six geopolitical zones.
The states are Kaduna, Jigawa, Sokoto, Katsina, Kwara, Niger, Kogi, Cross River, Delta, Rivers, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Borno, Bauchi, and Gombe States.
As with other tracking exercises carried out by ICPC since the kick-off in 2019, the objective of the Phase five is to investigate fraudulent procurement practices in the award of 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.
Ogugua explained that the commission had, in the fourth phase of the exercise, 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 FCT.
Some of the findings from the phase four exercise include discovery of N7.1 billion worth of padded projects.
Some contractors who had abandoned project sites are 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.
Also, 109 out of the 543 selected projects in phase four, amounting to N1,176,867,800 were found to have been inserted, which effectively turned them into Zonal Intervention Projects.
Intelligence revealed that the insertions were done by both legislators and some members of the Executive arm of the government in the budget-making process.
Though phase four was intended to focus solely on Executive projects, it however became another exercise in constituency projects tracking, because of the quantum of budget padding found amongst the selected projects.
According to the ICPC official, the fifth phase of the exercise will be carried out in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
Ogugua listed the stakeholders as the Federation’s Budget Office, the Accountant General’s Office and the Auditor-Office, General’s the Bureau of Public Procurement, the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, the Media, and Civil Society Organizations.
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