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Politics

331 projects worth N9.2bn poorly executed under Buhari, ICPC panel reveals

A steering committee constituted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Source Offences Commission (ICPC) to track Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP) executed under the 2019, 2020 and 2021 budget years ran by the previous administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has published its findings for phase five of the tracking exercise.

In the published report shared on the official X handle of the commission, the committee disclosed that no fewer than 331 projects worth N9.2billion, which represented 47 per cent of the 712 projects selected for tracking were not executed in line with the Bills of Quantities (BoQs).

The committee noted that the projects tracking, informed by the dissatisfaction of Nigerians with delivery of the ZIPs, was carried out by its members drawn across the Budget Office of the Federation, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and the media.

The committee noted that 81 out of the 712 projects spread across 21 states of the Federation were petition-based, adding that most of the tracked projects were soft projects and empowerment projects being used as major conduit to siphon public resources and laundered money during the years under review.

“Due to the increasing propensity of soft and intangible projects like empowerment and training being abused and used as a vehicle for misappropriation of public funds, the commission increases its surveillance on such projects. 331 projects representing 47% of selected projects valued at N9.2 billion were tracked.

“Consequently, there was hardly any of such projects tracked on which recoveries and or confiscation was not made as the projects were not executed in line with the Bills of Quantities (BoQs),” the report revealed. 

“Training exercises for instance that were meant to be conducted for two weeks were conducted in just one day. Also, names of beneficiaries were recycled such that their names appeared on two or more of such projects spanning different locations,” it added.

As stated by the committee in the report, “A larger percentage of empowerment items under the 2020 and 2021 Appropriations were found stashed away in warehouses or private properties of the sponsors.

“In Anambra North Senatorial District for example, the commission found some projects worth N1.1billion procured since 2020 hidden and hoarded in the warehouse of the sponsor. So also in Cross River South, various undistributed items worth N1 billion were found.

“The commission has since enforced the distribution of such items to beneficiaries within the affected districts or federal constituencies,” the report further revealed.

It added that: “In tracking and investigating grants projects, the commission discovered that in some cases, intended beneficiaries got paid far less than it was provided in the BoQ. For instance, a grant project where beneficiaries were supposed to receive N100,000 each, only N10,000 – N20,000 would be given.

“In another instance, a grant project of N150 million was distributed to only 10 people with each receiving between N10 – N15 million.

“The Commission found in some cases, particularly projects executed in Ondo North Senatorial District, the chief executive officer of Centre for Atmospheric Research, Ayingba, a subsidiary of National Space Research and Development Agency was in the habit of arbitrarily and unlawfully overpaying contractors much ,more than the contract sums without any approved variation. All overpaid companies were connected in some ways to the sponsor of the projects.

“The overpaid sums have been recovered and the perpetrators cited for sanctions,” the report revealed.

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