Our chairman not sacked, ICPC says amidst controversy

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has refuted a report that its chairman, Ekpo Nta, had been directed to proceed on compulsory leave from Wednesday.

Vanguard newspaper had on Wednesday reported that the ICPC boss may have been sacked by the presidency.

The report, quoting an ICPC source on Tuesday, said a letter from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation informed Mr. Nta that he should proceed on compulsory leave from Wednesday, October 26.

But in a statement on Wednesday, the spokesperson of ICPC, Edet Ufot, disclaimed the report. It stated that no such letter had been received in the commission.

“The attention of the Management of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has been drawn to the report in the Vanguard newspaper of 26th October, 2016 authored by one Ben Agande and replicated under different titles by some other online and traditional publications.

“The report purports that ICPC is in receipt of a letter from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, informing the Chairman, Mr. Ekpo Nta, ‘to proceed on compulsory leave beginning from today, October 26’. It goes further to impute perceived reasons for the alleged “sack” of the Chairman while quoting an anonymous ‘ICPC source’.

“No such letter or letters have been received in the Commission”, the statement stated.

The statement further disclosed that the ICPC had called the attention of relevant authorities to the matter for appropriate action.

A media aide of the president, Femi Adesina, when contacted by PREMIUM TIMES, said he had no information on the alleged sack.

Mr. Nta was appointed by the immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in acting capacity in 2011. The appointment was confirmed a year later by the Senate.
He was sworn in on October 17, 2012 by Mr. Jonathan.
The ICPC Act indicates that a chairman would hold office for a renewable period of five years. Should Mr. Nta’s tenure be calculated from the date of his appointment, he would be due for exit this year except his appointment is renewed by the president.

Presidency sources told PREMIUM TIMES Mr. Buhari has no plans to renew Mr. Nta’s appointment based on perceived non-performance; a factor that may have contributed to rumours of his sack.

On December 17, 2015, Mr. Nta was elected member of board of governors of the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) in Laxenburg, Austria.

The ICPC was inaugurated on September 29, 2000 by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo. Its mandate is to receive and investigate reports of corruption and inappropriate cases, prosecute the offender[s], examine, review and enforce the correction of corruption prone systems and procedures of public bodies, with a view to eliminating corruption in public life.

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