From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
IN order to check the menace of corruption in public service, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Tuesday inaugurated the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Committee Unit (ACTU) at the Federal Ministry of Environment.
Ibukun Odusote, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, who described the inauguration as long overdue said the newly inaugurated unit would help her ministry join the fight against corruption.
It was revealed that the ACTU inauguration process commenced in the ministry since 2013 but not recognised until today’s inauguration.
“Corruption in various forms has eaten deep into the fabrics of the civil service and the nation at large; it is responsible for the slow pace of development in the public service and the nation at large,” says Odusote who was represented by Yakubu Mijinyawa, the Director of Finance and Administration.
“I am therefore most delighted that though coming late, considering the time ACTU has existed in the ministry, this mile stone achievement will enable the ministry contribute its quota to successful anti-corruption campaign.”
AgroNature gathered that the ACTU was established across the Ministries Departments and Agencies through Circular Reference OHCSF/MSO/192/94 of 2nd October, 2001 and subsequently OE/MS/MSO/169/S.1/7 released in on 16th April, 2003.
Basically, members of the ACTU are empowered to serve as compliance and ethics officers with sole responsibility of educating and enlightening workers in their respective MDAs on need to adhere to the rules, regulations as well as upholding ethical practices in the public offices.
More importantly, the unit is charged to conduct preliminary and administrative investigation into cases of misconduct and refer to appropriate quarters as enshrined in the ACTU Standing Order.
Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of Environment used the opportunity to re-affirm the ministry’s commitment to achieving its mandate.
In his remarks, Barrister Abbia Udofia, representative of the ICPC disclosed that during the commission’s recent National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in Public Service, it revealed the commission’s result on System Study and Review Exercise conducted in 258 MDAs on personnel, capital and overhead costs.
According to him, the study revealed that ACTU of some ministries were either inactive or moribund.
He informed that in the past decade, billions of Naira was allocated by the Federal Government for Zonal Constituency Projects but, “a large amount of that figure cannot be accounted for as some contractors failed to execute their projects while others poorly executed the projects.”
However, Udofia noted that over N9 billion of public funds from capital allocations had been recovered while N25.7 billion also recovered from personnel cost.
He tasked the ministry to remain proactive in its mandate in ensuring environmental protection, thus promoting use of natural resources and its conservation.
“This mission cannot be achieved in an environment that tolerates opaque and corrupt practices. The ACTU is there to assist the management of the ministry in achieving this mandate.”
He was particularly affirmative about the idea of ACTU challenging authority of the management or to displace existing operations, rather to complement in areas of instilling discipline and integrity where necessary.
“To the newly appointed members, I also implore you to work hard and refrain from giving in to the temptation to use your office to victimize or witch-hunt other members of staff.”