The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has explained how heads of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) are put under investigation when they are appointed.
The commission noted that some of the heads of government organisations fall prey to corruption and blackmail from their subordinates because they did not read and understand some of the rules of the agency.
It said these subordinates who misled the head of some agencies, would turn around to send anonymous petitions against them to the commission.
The agency attributed this to a lack of administrative experience which has led some heads of agencies, particularly academics into culpability in acts of corruption.
The ICPC chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said this in Abuja at the Behaviour Change Conference and Exhibition 2023, with the theme, ‘Anti-Corruption Interventions in Nigeria-A Behavioral Change Perspective of What Needs To Shift’ organised by MacArthur Foundation, Akin Fadeyi Foundation, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Accountability Lab Nigeria and other partners.
Owasanoye specifically recalled that those in the academics who headed one agency or another became ICPC’s suspects within one year as a result of one infraction or the other.
He said: “And you could see that many of them, walking blind, lacked administrative experience either because they are misled or because they have not read circulars and guidelines that say you can do this, you can do this, you can’t do that.”
“Imagine somebody who hitherto held a global reputation, who won consultancy, earns $20,000, why does he want to come and steal money from an MDA? Except somebody has set a banana peel for him to enable them to do what they want to do and they need to put him in that trap. And then, if he refuses, then they will orchestrate a petition to ICPC, to EFCC, then the man will come and then embarrass him.”
Owasanoye said most of the people who indulged in such acts were faceless civil servants who led the heads of agencies into default in the first place.
The outgoing ICPC chairman recalled the experience of the head of an agency who wanted to embark on an international trip and was mischievously misled by the agency that his estacode was $900 instead of the approved $600.
Owasanoye said that for circumspection and refusal by the head of the agency, he would have walked into a boobytrap of official abuse culminating in corruption.
The ICPC boss said it was wrong to tag all Nigerians as corrupt in financial or other dealings of human endeavours.
“At one of the recent Policy Dialogues organised by the ICPC, two very vocal participants boisterously but erroneously maintained that Nigerians who are not corrupt are those who have not had the opportunity to abuse, or collude in the abuse, of public office, authority or position.
“This erroneous belief by relatively few people that all Nigerians are corrupt can be considered in the light of the traditional anti-corruption interventions in Nigeria and the recent efforts towards expanding the focus of anti-corruption interventions to include the behavioural change approach.
“From my experience in leading the anti-corruption fight at PACAC (Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption) and the ICPC, I can tell you categorically that not all Nigerians are corrupt,” Owasanoye said.
The Founder of the Akin Fadeyi Foundation, Akin Fadeyi said: “This event was not just to showcase our work, it was strategic to reevaluate our scorecards and redesign more robust templates aimed at scaling up our milestones in measurable impactful proportions.
“We are excited this event was successful and was well attended by experts and the international development community. It is imperative to convey our gratitude to the Nigerian Media across-board especially, as they have been the sustained strategic partners through which our efforts are conveyed to the larger populace.
The Country Director, MacArthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shettima, wondered when Nigeria’s politicians would be self-reformed to work for national interest, rather than their personal interest that harm national interests.
The Country Director, UNODC, Oliver Stolpe, who was represented by Ms. Lilian Ekeanyanwu, said: “The fight against corruption is not complete without addressing issues of transparency, integrity, and accountability. At the core of these values is behavioural change or the attitudes of citizens and their government. As we already know, combatting and preventing corruption requires a holistic framework and multi-sectoral approach.”