ICPC warns against diversion as COVID-19 donations exceed N25bn

2020-04-01
THE PUNCH Newspaper- Kindly Share This Story Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has warned government and emergency officials not to divert the money donated by individuals and organisations to fight coronavirus spread in the country.

This is just as The PUNCH learnt on Tuesday that donations from the private sector alone had exceeded N25bn ($65.7m) in cash.

Spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, said in a statement that public officials should also keep “social distancing from corruption” or face the consequences.

The anti-graft agency said from past experiences government officials even diverted funds meant for Internally Displaced Persons.

The statement read in part, “Emergency response is not immune to corruption risks. As the threat to national livelihood increases, so do the vulnerabilities to dishonesty.

“Corrupt public and private sector individuals will again test the nation’s anti-corruption architecture and commitment to integrity. It has happened before and may happen again.

“We have seen corruption in past responses to managing the needs of internally displaced persons, treatment of persons affected by natural disasters or acts of God; delivery of government palliatives for the poorest of the poor and implementation of policies to address critical economic vulnerabilities such as assistance to the SMEs; poverty alleviation programmes; improvement in education, promotion of agriculture etc.”

While commending the role being played by those involved in the battle to stop COVID-19, the ICPC said procurement processes must be respected.

The commission advised public officials to get approvals, ensure due diligence, avoid neglecting post-quarantine management and regulatory controls and take note of financial control regulations and limits.

The body said engaging in conflict of interest, nepotism, padding, inflated costs and other risky behaviour in the name of emergency response would not be tolerated

Okoduwa added, “This advisory is not finger pointing at the health sector or its leaders and others in government and outside government who have sacrificially and admirably led our response to COVID-19 thus far.

“It is an opportunity for reflection and warning to all Nigerians at national and sub-national levels that it is wise to remember that keeping safe distancing from post-pandemic corruption investigation in any sector of the economy is as important as safe social distancing to prevent COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, The PUNCH learnt that Lagos would get N1bn while Abuja would receive N500m from the money donated. Thirty-five states will share N1bn, with medical centres with equipment and supplies free telemedicine call centre facility getting N1bn.

Billionaire Mike Adenuga donated N1.5bn to the Federal Government and Lagos State Government.

Femi Otedola, Abdulsamad Rabiu, Herbert Wigwe, Segun Agbaje and Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, all contributed N1bn each.

First Bank and Keystone Bank donated N1bn each while Modupe and Folorunsho Alakija, Nigerian industrialists, announced a donation of N1bn to support the fight against coronavirus.

The All Progressives Congress National Leader Bola Tinubu contributed N200m to the cause, while lotto boss Chief Kessington Adebutu donated N300m.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its partners in the private sector announced a donation of $30m (N11bn) last week to help combat the coronavirus pandemic and its attendant impact on the Nigerian economy.

 

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