Presidency confers power on ICPC to probe government ministries and agencies

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) would partner with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to improve the country’s business climate and secure reforms through criminal investigation and prosecution of public complaints.

The Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo disclosed this in a PEBEC meeting held at the Presidential Villa Abuja.

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According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Prof. Osinbajo made known that the ICPC would now be in charge of prosecution.

What it means: This means that complaints from Nigerians regarding activities and practices in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) bordering on suspected corruption and deliberate stalling of reform efforts are gotten, would be referred immediately from the REPORTGOV.NG portal of PEBEC to the ICPC for investigation and prosecution.

The need to collaborate: The need for PEBEC to collaborate with ICPC had come up due to the many complaints and feedbacks gotten on the REPORTGOV.NG portal.

The Special Adviser to the President, Ease of Doing Business, and PEBEC Secretary, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole said that there was no better time to reform the public system in order to resolve the corruption issues.

“So we started the conversation with the ICPC, which saw the value in our request that they take up those corruption-tainted complaints that come out of the portal. Between November 2018 and January 2019, a total of 1,966 complaints were received on the portal, of which 1,892 were resolved, representing 96.2 per cent success rate,” Oduwole said.

Speaking further, Prof Osinbajo said the direct connection between the agencies would help in achieving the Federal Government’s reform agenda, especially regarding all government MDAs regulating business environment responsibilities.

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Osinbajo’s words: “There is a lot of talk about high-level corruption and some public officials stealing money, etc; but I think for average Nigerians, the point of contact is really this sort of approvals for ID cards, for passports, customs, officials, police, and so on.

“I think that if this collaboration is robust enough, we will be able to kill two birds with one stone; first is improving our Ease of Doing Business, second is our anti-corruption ranking internationally because some of the rankings is a perception index. So, people are simply asked, what is your perception about corruption in Nigeria?

 “So, if we work on these issues, we can really do a lot in terms of improving the image of the country, not just in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, but also in terms of the perception of corruption.”

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