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ICPC TO QUERY LAWMAKERS ALLOWANCES

By NBF News

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is seriously looking into allegation made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the size of allowances being collected by members of the National Assembly.

Also, the anti-graft agency had commenced investigation into how members and management of the legislative arm of government had been utilizing funds released for constituency projects throughout the federation.

The Chairman of the Commission, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola dropped the hint yesterday in Abuja at the sixth edition of the Chairman Guest Forum, which had the Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Mallam Usman Magawata, as special guest.

Justice Ayoola told the gathering, which converged on the ICPC auditorium. 'We will use the allegation made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that the National Assembly is corrupt to question the size of allowances of the lawmakers. We will commence investigation on the legal propriety on the size of the allowances; we want to know whether any criminal offence has been committed on the size of the allowances. If we do not find anything, we will report and if we find something we will tell the world what we have found.'

Justice Ayoola explained that the commission had developed pro-active strategy to ensure that corrupt people did not go-scot free, adding that the ICPC would provide a platform for Nigerians to screen those aspiring to public offices. 'The commission has also embarked on system review activities that will cleanse the ministries, departments and agencies of hidden corrupt practice. In this regard, the ICPC has already commenced an investigation of the management of constituency projects and has requested the National Assembly to submit some data.' Continuing, he said: 'We have already collected data from most of the state legislature in regard to the practice they adopted in the management of constituency projects to enable us to assess which aspects of the execution of such projects offend the ICPC Act.

He explained that the constant increase in the number of petitions received by the commission is a mark, not only of an increased awareness by the citizens of their rights to demand accountability from those who were entrusted with the exercise of government power or entrusted with public funds; but it is also a measure of the growing widespread revulsion of the citizens to corruption.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Mallam Usman Magawata, in his lecture commended the ICPC for its tremendous achievements in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, particularly its ability to be credible and the verification of allegations brought to it by the public before pursuing such claims in the court of law.

Magawata narrated how he became the D-G NTA saying, he believed he was given the position after being tested and trusted and for this reason decided to use the opportunity he had been given to serve the nation selflessly in a transparent and honest manner.