By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented that corrupt elements with enormous looted resources who are currently undergoing trial in the country are attempting to compromise justice.
Buhari, in his opening session of the Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) training for Heads of Anti-Corruption agencies in the African Union at the Presidential Villa yesterday, told the participants that the costs of recovery of looted funds and sanctions are also enormous.
The President, who equally presented the report of the risk assessment of the e-government to the heads of the nation’s anti-corruption agencies in the country present at the training, reiterated that the session on CRA could only be meaningful when the Risk Assessors were put to work.
According to him, the training was at the instance of his administration to support war against corruption in the continent and was facilitated by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN) the research and training arm of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
“During the past several months, we have been taking steps to institute integrity and transparency in the processes of government and holding those who have plundered our commonwealth to account for their actions.
However, the costs of recovery and sanctions are also enormous. While commendable successes have been recorded, it has become manifest that corruption fights back. With enormous stolen resources elements have attempted to compromise law enforcing institutions and pervert the course of justice.”
On the engagement of the Risks Assessors, Buhari said “In Nigeria, the Methodology has been deployed to a number of sectors. The most recent one being the Risk Assessment of the country’s e-government system whose report is now available and the summary presented earlier this morning. It is therefore my great pleasure to present this Report to all the stakeholders, many of whom are present with us here.
I urge them to work assiduously to implement the recommendations of the Report. I must also commend all those who carried out the assessment and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for supporting the process.”
Buhari noted that Corruption was rife when he took over power in 2015 just as he submitted that the momentum for his electoral victory could not be separated from the revolt of the people against glaring endemic corruption before his emergence.
He told the delegates that the fight against corruption wes a battle for the souls of their different countries and it is one that they must win. “Since independence our continent has suffered from the severe consequences of corruption and it is imperative that we take steps to reverse the trend,” he stressed.
The President however assured that his administration would continue to implement policies aimed at building resilient systems that can withstand assault by corrupt officials stressing that the steps in that direction included the full implementation of both the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN); the Open Government Partnership, various Executive Orders, strengthening the Anti-Corruption Agencies and permitting their full autonomy.
“It is in this context of building robust preventive systems that we must understand this initiative which aims to train leaders of anti-corruption agencies in the African Union by deploying Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology for corruption prevention in our countries.
Corruption Risk Assessment seeks to identify corruption-prone processes and procedures in organisations and recommend appropriate remedial steps. The methodology places a premium on prevention as an effective complement to enforcement in the war against corruption,” he said.
At the meeting were the Acting Chairman of theIndependent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Dr. Usman Abubakar, and representatives from 22 other African Countries.