The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) has drawn up corruption-prevention guidelines for the management of relief funds by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
Its spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, who unveiled the rules yesterday in Abuja, noted that they were in furtherance of the objective of the monitoring team recently raised by the organisation to collaborate with the PTF in ensuring the transparent utilisation of funds, donations and other receipts mobilised towards combating the disease in the country.
Highlights of the guidelines are: “first, the Bank Accounts Policy which allows the PTF chairman the discretion to designate bank accounts solely for the collection of funds and donations, as well as a specific bank account that receipts are swept into for expenditure whose signatories, though appointed by the chairman of the task force, shall not have approving powers. Reconciliations of the accounts and books maintained shall be submitted to the chairman of the PTF monthly.
“Also, there is the Expenditures and Payments provision which requires payments to vendors, suppliers and ad hoc staff to be mainly by bank transfer after they have made supplies or rendered service in order to leave trails. Furthermore, the responsibility for procurements rests on the shoulders of the Chairman, PTF and all such procurements are required to adhere to the provisions of Section 43 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 in the emergency period.
The principles also require all cash advances to be subject to the Financial Regulations (FR) and Public Service Rules (PSR). Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday urged the National Assembly to immediately appropriate the recently repatriated $311 million Abacha loot to check alleged diversion.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party claimed it had “uncovered plots to use fake subheads and duplicated projects as ploy to re-loot the recently repatriated $311 million.”
It added: “Some high-ranking government officials, the ‘cabal’, had perfected the use of fake subheads as nomenclatures to mislead those who repatriated the fund and pave way for the frittering of the money.
“The strategy of the ‘cabal’ is to hype hazy subheads and stampede the dissipation of the funds without the statutory approval of the National Assembly, which enables them to muddle up accountability processes, conceal their fraud and divert the attention of the unsuspecting public from the scam.”