ICPC queries N5.6bn constituency projects in foreign affairs, justice ministries’ budget

Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoya, has expressed dissatisfaction over N5.6billion allocated to the budgets of ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice for constituency projects.

A statement signed by the spokesperson of the commission, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, said the chairman spoke at a media roundtable in Abuja to promote the ‘My Constituency, My Project’ initiative of the commission.

It said he expressed concern that constituency projects, which principally were projects and empowerment programmes designed to bring development to rural communities nationwide, had been included the budgets of the foreign affairs and other non-relevant ministries and agencies.

“What is constituency project doing in Foreign Affairs? We will ask questions with this kind of allocation,” the ICPC boss was quoted as saying in the statement.

He also revealed that both the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice had the sum of N5.6 billion inserted in the 2019 budget for the execution of zonal intervention projects.

He also disclosed that a breakdown of the 2019 allocation for zonal interventional projects showed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) would spend N2.9 billion on constituency projects.

Owasanoye added that the allocation of N2.7 billion to the Ministry of Justice in the same budget brought to the fore some of the anomalies surrounding the implementation of constituency projects across the country.

He noted that only about 60 percent of constituency projects have been completed with a lot of them executed in shoddy ways due to poor technical designs, impositions and other sundry irregularities.

He stressed that the commission would not give up on tracking of constituency projects as long as government kept funding them and therefore called on local communities to own the projects for themselves.

Professor Owasanoye also called for the handover of zonal intervention projects to local government authorities upon completion for effective maintenance and sustainability of the projects.

He said, “If somebody had nominated a project and succeeded in getting the project to the community, it is not the duty of the person to maintain it. Communities need to understand that it was public funds that were used. They need to take ownership. We recommend that the project needs to be handed over to the local government for the community to take over.”

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