ICPC indicts UCH, Labour Ministry over padding of nominal rolls

University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan

By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau

Two federal government agencies, the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, have been indicted by the anti-grafts body the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission (ICPC) for padding their nominal rolls.

The news of the indictment was made public on Friday in Abuja by ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasannoye at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-corruption and Public Service Matters.

According to the statement made available to journalists on Friday by ICPC Spokesperson, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, the hearing was organised to investigate high level of corruption in nominal rolls of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

It also stated that the ICPC Chairman said so far the Ministry of Labour and the UCH had been found culpable of padding their nominal rolls.

Owasannoye said the ICPC was investigating the nominal rolls of the Ministries of Labour and Employment, Health, Interior, Information and Culture and the University College Hospital, Ibadan.

“Interior Ministry did not do any recruitment. We have not finished with the Ministry of Health. Labour and UCH were implicated definitely,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Professor Owasanoye has also revealed how the Commission’s advisory to the government helped to block N42 billion personnel cost from being diverted.

He further disclosed that in 2020, the Commission issued another advisory to the Federal Ministry of Finance to restrain the sum of N147 billion through the issuance of a negative warrant as a result of surpluses found in MDAs personnel cost funds.

“In 2019 we reviewed 208 agencies that are funded from the public treasury and we found out that there were huge surpluses of personnel cost after the payment of salaries and wages. Based on these findings, about N42 billion unspent surplus allocation was blocked based on our advisory to government,” the Chairman said.

Continuing, he disclosed that “In 2020, the Commission advised the Hon. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to mop-up N147 billion through what is called the negative warrant to forestall further misapplication of excess funds that we found in MDAs account’’.

He added that the fallout of the System Study and Review conducted by ICPC over the years had helped the Commission discover certain information that could help it carry out either preventive or enforcement measures, which would ultimately lead to reforms.

According to him, “Over the years we had conducted system study and review pursuant to Section 6 b-d of the enabling Act of the Commission and what we look at the structure, the administrative, financial, and governance issues in the public sector agencies’’.

‘Of course, this could be extended to the non-public sector agencies but the main focus is the public sector agencies. We look at the systems and the processes not necessarily the persons.” He added.

“The outcome of such reviews always results in some reform measures besides recovery. Sometimes we give advisory to government based on what we have found.” He further said.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Co-Chairman of the Committees, Hon. Musa Dachung Bagos who represented the Chairman, House Committee on Anti-Corruption, Hon. Nicholas Shehu Garba, explained that the public hearing was as a result of a motion that was brought before the House of Representatives to investigate nominal roll in all MDAs.

He pledged the commitment of the Green Chamber to take the assignment serious to ensure that Nigerians get value for the funds appropriated by the National Assembly for personnel cost.

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