LG's Joint Accounts: FCT Stole N82m In 5 Months -ICPC
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has revealed to huhuonline.com that the Federal Capital Territory Administration has Stolen N82 million in five months from the illegal joint account of the six area councils.
According to the ICPC head of Public Enlightenment Campaign, Mr. Mike Sowe, a pilot study which covered the period between April and September, 2011 revealed that, illegal deductions of 1% for Joint Account Administration, amounting to a total sum of Eighty two million, eight hundred and one thousand, nine hundred and fifty naira sixty one kobo (N82, 801,953.61) were stolen in the FCT Joint Accounts Committee.
To this end, Sowe told Huhuonline.com that it will investigate the joint account of the 774 local governments in the country to ascertain the quantum petitions brought against them on alleged sham practices in the joint accounts.
According to Sowe, 'If over N82 million can be stolen in the FCT joint account in five months alone, there will be wanton corruption going on in the 774 local governments in the country.
'We have commenced a probe into the administration and operations of the Joint Accounts of some selected local government councils in the six geo-political zones, starting with the six Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory, where a pilot survey has been concluded.
'The study is a fall out from the constant public outcry that the administration of the Local Government Joint Account appears to be too cumbersome with its attendant result heavily prone to corruption', Sowe stated.
While explaining the brain behind the investigation, Sowe, however, told Huhuonline.com that the objective was to ascertain the level of transparency, integrity and monitoring mechanism in the disbursement and operations of the funds to Local Government Councils through the Joint Account Operations and to suggest reviews where necessary.
'The pilot study which covered the period between April and September, 2011 revealed that, illegal deductions of 1% for Joint Account Administration, amounting to a total sum of Eighty two million, eight hundred and one thousand, nine hundred and fifty naira sixty one kobo (N82,801,953.61) was stolen by the FCT Joint Accounts Committee', Sowe told Huhuonline.com.
'It would be recalled that section 7 of the enabling Act for Joint Accounts, reserves all approving deduction rights to the National Assembly and no other authority. Therefore a mere resolution by the committee to deduct the sum of N82, 801,953.61 for secretariat administration was illegal', he said.
Sowe said that the secretariat, being part of the bureaucratic structure of the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, deriving its capital and overhead cost from the ministry like any other department, does not in any way execute any project on its own, thereby raising questions as to what the funds deducted are used for.
Sowe, however, conceded that the operatives of the ICPC have been assigned to carry out further investigation into the matter to determine the actual effective commencement period of such deductions and the amount involved to-date for recovery and possible prosecution.