In its anti-graft war, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it spends an average of N4 million to investigate every petition submitted to it by Nigerians.

The commission said that the duplication of petitions to different anti-graft agencies was making the country pay huge sums of money on the investigation of such crimes.

The disclosure came yesterday at the official launch of the Anti-corruption Support Project of the Centre for Democracy Development (CDD) in Abuja.

ICPC chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, said that to reduce the huge expenditure on the investigation of petitions, there was need for collaboration amongst the country’s anti-graft agencies.

Represented at the event by his chief of staff, Dr Esa Onoja, the ICPC boss said that the commission was working with sister agencies to minimise the petitions being syndicated by Nigerians.

According to him, “each petition costs an average of N4 million to investigate by every anti-corruption agency. What the new board of the ICPC did is to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with other sister organisations where we verify every petition the others are investigating. This has saved us from duplication. We are going to work together in the fight against corruption.”

Also, the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAGF) has advised the anti-corruption agencies to always get data from it to help them carryout their duties effectively.

A representative of the AGF at the ceremony, Hilder Danika, said that anti-graft crusade is a task that must be done effectively.

Danika said that President Muhammadu Buhari had been stressing overtime that if “Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill the country.

“Our office is on the forefront of fighting corruption. We believe that our reward will no longer be in heaven. We’ve been carrying out audits but the reports always lie in the parliament for years.

“We are going to focus on the preventive angle of fighting corruption. We have massive data that our colleagues in the anti-corruption agencies can use; it will help them from carrying out investigations without supportive data,” he added.

Also, the National Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU) has said that the inter-agency rivalry in the fight against corruption was real and called for caution.

NFIU director, Abdul Rahman Mustapha, who noted that the unnecessary rivalry would not help in the anti-corruption fight, added that inter-agency cooperation and collaboration was very important.

“On inter agency rivalry, the NFIU suffered so much even when we were part of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). We suffered it inside and now we are suffering it from the outside. But our work majorly is to support the investigator and the judiciary. We are only interested in criminal activities. What we want to bring in is to create the enabling environment so that judges and investigators can go home early. The number of arrest will come down; the number of confiscation will also come down because we want to block the avenues they used in committing the crime.

“It is not the number of arrest, the number of laws or the number of conviction that matter, but the effectiveness of the system. The number of the crime needs to come down. If you don’t trust EFCC, ICPC or any other anti-corruption agency, then trust us. We don’t want to takeaway somebody’s job. We do our analysis based on the data we get in all the sectors. Proceeds can move within seconds to foreign countries. Why do we have to wait for recovery process rather than blocking it?’’

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