Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, ICPC, through its Constituency Projects Tracking Group (CPTG) initiative, has recovered and sealed items worth N117 million traced to Utazi Chukwuka, a senator representing Enugu North Senatorial District.
This is as the agency continued its recovery of items from public officers who had failed at properly using the funds for the projects.
PREMIUM TIMES on Friday reported how the commission announced that it recovered constituency projects items from two former senators; Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom northwest) and Isa Misau (Bauchi Central Senatorial District), through the CPTG team.
On Sunday, a civic group, SERAP, asked the ICPC and the EFCC to summon the former senators over the discovery.
The latest recovery was disclosed in a statement signed by ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, on Sunday.
She said the ICPC recovered items traced to Mr Chukwuka, including 228 motorcycles, 51 tricycles, 203 grinding machines and five transformers.
Mr Chukwuka was chairman Senate committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes between 2015-2019. The ICPC said he stashed the items in his hometown compound in Mkpologu town of Uzo-Nwani Local Government Area.
PREMIUM TIMES in June reported that the ICPC commenced the tracking of constituency projects in 12 states.
The commission had said about N2 trillion was spent on constituency projects in Nigeria since 2000, without commensurate development at the grassroots.
”The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has again recovered items worth N117,123,375.44 million from the Senator representing Enugu North Senatorial District of Enugu State.
”The items covered by this amount and recovered from the legislator are 168 and 51 numbers of motorcycles and tricycles respectively. They were discovered to be stashed away in a compound in Mkpologu town of Uzo-Nwani Local Government Area, believed to be owned by the Senator.
”The tricycles, motorcycles and grinding machines were meant to be distributed to the lawmaker’s constituents to empower them as part of the Federal Government’s efforts to alleviate poverty.
”Additionally, ICPC recovered 203 grinding machines, 60 motorcycles and 5 transformers in the compound which had been procured under another constituency project. Thereupon the Commission impounded all the items and sealed the Senator’s compound. the statement partly reads.
The ICPC said the contact for the procurement of the items was awarded on January 23, 2018, under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the Senator’s constituency projects.
The Commission said its investigations showed that four companies were awarded the contracts for the project which includes ”Al-Amir Int. Ltd., Du-Lumac Ltd., Com Technologies System Ltd., and Chumax Agency Ltd.
According to a source from the ICPC, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, the items had been left abandoned for the past 17 months and were already showing signs of dilapidation.
It added that the senator, who was not present during the seizure, pledged to the commission to distribute the items to beneficiaries on Tuesday.
”He was not on ground when items were seized but his men claimed there are plans to distribute the item this week. Curiously, these items have been under the sun and rain for the past 17 months.
The ICPC said: ”its officers will be on the scene to supervise the distribution.”
”While ICPC is investigating circumstances that led to the items being in the possession of the sponsoring legislator rather than the implementing agency, its officers will be on the scene to supervise the distribution
The CPTG assessment reviews constituency projects across Nigeria. It is carried out by the Commission and its partners: Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Bureau of Public Procurement, Budget Office of the Federation, BudgIT and Udeme.ng.
The project is aimed at ensuring the satisfactory execution of all constituency projects across the country.
It has so far led to multiple recoveries of items, hospital equipment, vehicles, and funds. It has also forced many contractors who hitherto had abandoned projects to return to the site to complete them.