The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has also condemned the latest Transparency International report that ranked Nigeria the fourth most corrupt country in West Africa and the 34th in the world.
The commission said the anti-corruption watchdog’s index may have ignored the measures being taken by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to fight corruption.
2019 Transparency International’s corruption perception index released on Thursday, scored Nigeria 26 out of 100 points, leading to a drop in two places from 144th to 146th position out of the 180 countries that were surveyed worldwide.
PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday reported ICPC’s sister anti-corruption agency, the EFCC, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, condemning the TI index. The EFCC described the report as baseless and appalling.
Taking a similar position, the ICPC In a statement on Friday challenged TI to publish its research parameters so that its data can be disaggregated, rather than build its rankings on a few issues such as political corruption.
It said the reality on the ground measuring the physical impact of the anti-corruption fight of the current administration is different from the perception concluded by the Transparency International index.
”ICPC hereby states categorically that the report is unfair and untenable as Transparency International has consistently failed to recognise the efforts of the government to tame corruption.
”These efforts include the increasing number of cases filed in court and jail terms secured in several convictions against corrupt persons across all levels of society, including hitherto ‘sacred cows’.
”More importantly, the strides of government in relation to corruption prevention measures appear to have been totally ignored. Perception is one thing, the reality is another. To lend credence to perception, it may be helpful to match it against reality especially when information on perception is coming from a source such as TI,” the ICPC said.
The commission said Nigeria has made significant progress in asset recovery, leading the African continent at large.
It highlighted key achievements of the Buhari administrations, such as the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS), the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS); and Treasury Single Account (TSA).
It added that the country had also improved in its rating on open government standards as the government continues to operationalise the 14 commitments enunciated in the Nigeria OGP National Action Plan.
The ICPC said: ”In recognition of the seminal role of prevention in anti-corruption work, ICPC recently released its report of the system study and review exercise on the use of the Personnel Cost and Capital Development Fund in 201 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
”Allied to this report is also the highly publicised work of the Commission in tracking the use of the funds released for Constituency Projects and the report on the deployment of Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard in 280 MDAs.
”The reports on these initiatives provided very important policy recommendations to government on corruption prevention which are being acted on, including the restraining of several billions of Naira from release to MDAs which had stood the risk of misappropriation and embezzlement as well government’s recent directive that all MDAs including tertiary education and health institutions get captured on the IPPIS for transparency and accountability on the use of Personnel Cost for Federal Government employees.
”Going forward, it would be helpful if TI would publish its research parameters so its data can be disaggregated rather than build its rankings on a few issues such as political corruption. No doubt we are not yet where we ought to be, but we have not been stationary either.
”The country has moved well away from where it was a number of years back in terms of enforcement, prevention and citizen engagement against corruption.
”ICPC is firmly persuaded that the silent majority of Nigerians appreciate the anti-corruption efforts of the government led by President Muhammadu Buhari even if TI does not. We shall not be distracted but continue to forge ahead,” the commission stated.