ICPC Reveals N49.9bn ‘Ghost’ Worker Salaries

The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and other related violations announced on Thursday that the budget of N13.59 trillion 2021 was filled by the various ministries, departments and agencies, with duplicated projects worth N300b.

The ICPC chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, also revealed during an interface with the Senate Finance Committee that the duplication of projects worth N100 billion was also inserted into the N17.12 trillion 2022 budget by some MDAs, apart from the N49. .9b which was tracked as salary for ghost workers between January and June of this year.

Owasanoye explained that the N300 billion duplicated projects in the 2021 budget and N100 billion in the 2022 budget were followed by auditing approved projects for the various MDAs.

The ICPC chief stated: “N300 billion would have been wasted by the federal government on duplicate projects inserted into the 2021 budget and N100 billion for the same purpose in the current fiscal year if they were not tracked and intercepted by ICPC.”

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“The same preventive action has saved the country from spending N49.9 billion on salaries for ghost workers who were put on fictitious payrolls by the fraudulent MDAs between January and June this year.”

Owasanoye added that the names of MDAs involved in project duplications leading to intercepted billions of Naira and fictitious payrolls are available and will be forwarded to the committee.

“The good thing about the preventive measures taken by us is that money for the fraudulent acts was prevented from being released to the affected MDAs and it is gratifying that the Treasury Department and the Accounting General Office have cooperated with us,” he said.

He advised relevant National Assembly committees to look out for such project duplication in the proposed N19.76 trillion 2023 budget.

He added: “From our side, such projects are detected by verifying their locations and names, after which we tell the competent authorities not to release mis-budgeted funds to them.”

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The chairman, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, who welcomed the progress on behalf of the committee, said the agency’s operating costs will be increased from N1.8billion.

He added: “This committee is impressed by the proactive ways in which your committee is working in the fight against corruption.

“Your submissions clearly show that all hope is not lost for our dear country in the fight against corruption.

“Your operational costs, which amount to N1.8 billion, will be increased as the required incentive for more proactive action against corrupt practices in the various MDAs.”

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