The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) padded the 2021 budget to the tune of N300 billion.

The padding which they did by duplicating projects shot the budget to N13.59 trillion, it has stated.

The anti-corruption agency says that the MDAs also padded the 2022 budget with duplicated projects amounting to N100 billion.

This shot the current year’s budget to N17.12 trillion.

This is aside of the N49.9 billion discovered as salaries for ghost workers between January and June, 2022, it says.

ICPC’s Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, made these known in Abuja on Thursday.

He made the submissions at an interactive session with the Senate Committee on Finance on the 2022-2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

He said the ICPC discovered the projects duplication and budget padding for the two years during a scrutiny of projects approved for the various MDAs.

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“Three hundred billion naira would have been wasted by the Federal Government on duplicated projects inserted into the 2021 budget.

“Federal Government would have wasted another N100 billion in the 2022 budget if not tracked and intercepted by the ICPC.

The same pre-emptive move saved the country from spending N49.9 billion on payment of salaries to ghost workers inserted into payrolls by the fraudulent MDAs between January and June this year.

“Names of MDAs involved in projects duplication and fictitious payrolls are available and will be forwarded to the committee,’’ he said.

Owasannoye explained that ICPC’s interception ensured that monies for the fraudulent acts were prevented from being released to the affected MDAs.

“It is gratifying that the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General’s Office cooperated with us’,’’ he stressed.

The ICPC chairman advised relevant committees of the National Assembly to look out for such projects duplication in the proposed N19.76 trillion 2023 budget.

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“From our own end, detection of such projects is done by verifying their locations and names, upon which we tell the appropriate authorities not to release wrongly budgeted monies,’’ he said.

In his remarks, chairman of the committee, Sen. Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos West), assured that ICPC’s operational cost would be increased from the current N1.8 billion.

“This committee is impressed by the proactive ways your commission has adopted in the fight against corruption.

“Your submissions clearly shows that all hopes are not lost for our dear country as far as fighting corruption is concerned.

“Your operational cost which is N1.8 billion will be increased as required impetus for more proactive measures against corrupt practices across the various MDAs,’’ Sen. Adeola said.

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