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Practice social distancing from corruption – ICPC warns public officials not to divert the over N43bn coronavirus donations

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, has warned government and public officials not to divert the money donated by individuals and organisations to fight coronavirus spread in the country.

Investigations revealed that on Tuesday, donations from the private sector alone had exceeded N43bn in cash.

ICPC Spokesperson, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, said in a statement that public officials should also keep “social distancing from corruption” or face the consequences.

The anti-graft agency said from past experiences government officials even diverted funds meant for Internally Displaced Persons.

The statement read in part, “Emergency response is not immune to corruption risks. As the threat to national livelihood increases, so do the vulnerabilities to dishonesty. Corrupt public and private sector individuals will again test the nation’s anti-corruption architecture and commitment to integrity. It has happened before and may happen again.

“We have seen corruption in past responses to managing the needs of internally displaced persons, treatment of persons affected by natural disasters or acts of God; delivery of government palliatives for the poorest of the poor and implementation of policies to address critical economic vulnerabilities such as assistance to the SMEs; poverty alleviation programmes; improvement in education, promotion of agriculture.”

While commending the role being played by those involved in the battle to stop COVID-19, the ICPC said procurement processes must be respected.

The commission advised public officials to get approvals, ensure due diligence, avoid neglecting post-quarantine management and regulatory controls and take note of financial control regulations and limits.

ICPC said engaging in conflict of interest, nepotism, padding, inflated costs and other risky behaviour in the name of emergency response would not be tolerated.

 
 
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