The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) have forged an to check fraud associated with the procurement of Information Technology products and service among Ministries, Department and Agencies of the Federal Government.
The director general of NITDA, Isa Pantami, made this known when he led the management team of the agency on a working visit to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja.
A statement signed by Hadiza Umar, head of Corporate Affairs at NITDA, said the alliance had become imperative in the face of the corruption perpetrated by MDAs especially in the procurement of IT products and services.
According to the NITDA boss, most of the procurement projects pass through less scrutiny during budget defense at National Assembly because of the expertise required to ascertain the needs and specifications of these IT requirements.
“Many MDAs consider IT projects as conduit pipes to siphon public funds,” he said, adding that, “partnering with EFCC will bring sanity to the sector and by then the commission will be empowering NITDA in strengthening its regulatory function through which it will also be developing and promoting the local content in the IT sector.”
While suggesting the modus operandi of the partnership, Mr. Pantami said the two organisations could form a working group which would also serve as a desk to deal with sharp practices in the IT procurement.
“EFCC may help in asking MDAs to produce procurement clearance issued by NITDA during their investigations,” he explained.
Commenting further, Mr. Patanmi said NITDA as IT regulatory body in the country is responsible for subjecting IT product to value-for-money analysis, reduce projects duplication, justify the spending of public funds on IT projects and to advise MDAs on the alternative options of IT products and service with a view of reducing cost especially on sharing of software among themselves.
The DG who noted that he believed that the alliance would strengthen the existing relationship between the agency and the EFCC said, “supporting NITDA would go a long way in blocking loopholes in IT procurements.”
According to the statement, the acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, expressed his delight over the visit and said that EFCC as commission, “would be complying with NITDA’s request so as to bring some level of sanity to the procurement of IT products and services among MDAs in Nigeria.”
Mr. Magu described the partnership as timely especially now that the commission is on the process of “completely digitalizing the operation of EFCC”, adding that he now has place in NITDA to run to when he gets confused on IT projects under investigations.
Describing corruption as a threat to the unity of Nigeria, the EFCC boss maintained that the commission could not fight corruption alone without the consensus of all Nigerians.
He, therefore, pleaded with Nigerians not to be discouraged by the recent corruption case judgments delivered recently.
Mr. Magu, the statement said, explained that the cause of agitations from different quarters in the country were because of corruption that has ravaged the nation.
The statement quoted the EFCC boss as saying that there is a political will to fight corruption by the present administration.
“The two organisations (EFCC and NITDA) agreed to nominate three officials each to constitute the working group and the desk with the term of reference of verifying the IT products and services to be procured with public funds,” the statement said.