“The President’s determination to ensure that no element of corruption thrives in Nigeria could have necessitated the proposed relocation of ICPC office to INEC’s Maitama Building. The President will never leave any stone unturned in ensuring that the watchers are watched. There are indications that heads will roll and the right things will be done to ensure that the commission lives up to its statutory mandate as truly an anti-corruption agency”
LeadingReporters could now authoritatively reveal that President Buhari poised to pull down strong holds of corruption has beamed its searchlight on one of the foremost anti-corruption agencies – Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission popularly called ICPC in a view to positioning it for optimal performance.
A source from the Presidential Villa who spoke to us on condition of anonymity confirmed that the President is worried by several reports of official misconducts with regards to investigation of cases, reports of hidden investigation files and compromised investigation that involved several billions of naira among the echelons of the agency. It would be recalled that President Buhari has previously ordered for thorough investigation of certain allegations involving some top officers of the commission.
Part of the strategies, our source said is the Presidential Order to relocate ICPC office to the office complex that currently hosts INEC headquarters within 30 days. INEC is as well expected to move to the current ICPC office in Central Business District, Abuja.
Our source confirmed that there is going to be total restructuring of the anti-corruption agency. Departmental heads and heads of units may be caught in the current web of the blowing winds. The restructuring may involve revisiting cases that were believed to have been compromised and placing travelling embargoes on some of the key officers of the commission at the commissioners’ cadres including their family members who have been suspected to have sold out and compromised in their official functions. The new move will entail inventory of their assets through assets declaration processes. It is currently believed that the Presidency has tidied up a secret investigation on some officers who were believed to have twisted the objective for which the commission was set up for personal gains and aggrandizement.
It would be recalled that ICPC is one of the surviving legacies of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission was inaugurated on September 29th, 2000 by the then Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR. The act that established the commission was the first said to have been sponsored by the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo with core objective and mandate of bringing to book people who fleece government treasury and other corruption matters. The earlier provisions of the bill as sponsored by the Presidency was said to have been watered down by the then members of the National Assembly who believed Obasanjo targeted them with the bill.
Our source confirmed that part of the restructuring may be to bring on board people with sound police and investigation backgrounds as Director of Operations and Head of Investigation commensurate with what obtains in EFCC. This same person who will oversee the Investigation Unit, Zonal and State Units maybe a retired or serving Commissioner of Police with sound investigation background. Those within the commissioners’ cadre and departmental heads may publicly declare their assets, according to our source.
LeadingReporters as well unveiled that certain cases believed to have been unsatisfactorily investigated by the commission may be ordered by the Presidency to be revisited and reinvestigated to ensure that all cases are conducted and concluded satisfactorily by the Investigation Department and Financial Investigation Unit.
There are however unconfirmed report that the Presidency is considering people with sound legal and investigation experience to head the commission as Chairman. Unconfirmed reports says Hamid Ali is being seen in some quarters at the presidency as a better replacement, going by his background as a Master Degree holder in Criminology. Another person allegedly being considered suitable for the job is Tonnie Iredia going by his corporate antecedents, experience and his legal background.
The source opined that the current Chairman is seen indifferent to the ideologies of President Buhari because of his failure in the past to fight corruption squarely. It would be recalled that the current Chairman Mr. Ekpo Nta has once said that he preferred to block corruption rather than to fight it, a statement that seems to haunt him.
“The current Chairman’s challenges border on his previous stance on anti-corruption fight, insisting that he had rather blocked corruption than to fight it. It is surprising to see a man who said he won’t fight corruption previously suddenly waking up to say he wants to fight corruption. That is considered double-standard and eye-service. The question now is how far did he block corruption going by the level of corruption and impunity that characterized past leadership”