By Joy Baba
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday opened a new chapter of fight against corruption, as it interacted with Professional groups in the county for the purpose of containing acts of corruption among professionals in Nigeria.
The ICPC’s meeting with the professionals involved the harmonisation of codes of professional practice by these groups with the anti-graft values such that erring members could be punished.
The ICPC Chairman, Barrister Ekpo Nta disclosed this during his opening address at a Round Table Consultative Forum with Professional Associations and Business Management Organisations which held at the ICPC’s auditorium in Abuja.
He said, ICPC, in line with international best practices was eager to build the capacity of private and public sector institutions in the fight against organised corruption by ensuring that Professionals in all sectors discharge their mandate with the highest sense of moral values and professional standards.
He said by working harmoniously with the professional groups in the country, it would be easy for ICPC to block corruption opportunities in the conduct of professionals while also making infractions punishable under the ICPC Act 2000.
He said section 6 (b-d) of the ICPC Act 2000 empowers the Commission to prevent corruption across board in Nigeria, while section 70, according to him, grants special powers to the ICPC Chairman to make standing rules for fight against corruption, and in the interest of the nation.
Ekpo Nta said ICPC had in the past blazed the trail in the fight against corruption through similar collaborative efforts.
ICPC, said Ekpo Nta was also able to establish a Coalition with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), through which platform, various anti-corruption community advocacy projects were executed.
He said the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria had also successfully produced a new Code of Conduct in collaboration with ICPC, noting that the Code has since been binding on all teachers in Nigeria.
Ekpo Nta, however listed the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Institute of Chattered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), National Association of Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN) and the Medical Laboratory Scene of Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) as agencies which had successfully infused ICPC’s ethics and values into their code of professional practice, under strong partnership.
He said, “ICPC is offering a partnership that will allow all professional Associations and Business Organisations an anti-corruption platform that would be accepted internationally and can punish erring members with stiffer penalties including prosecution for criminally minded ones”.