The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has scored the Ministries of Education, Finance, Power low in its latest ethics and transparency index report released on Monday.
The assessment report by the ICPC is part of its mandate where it deploys the Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard (EICS) in federal government’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to assess their compliance to extant ethical, integrity, statutory, policy and regulatory standards and practices.
The assessment, according to the ICPC, is part of the Commission’s preventive mandate as provided in Section 6(b)-(d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000. It said it would also reinforce the drive to strengthen probity, accountability and transparency in public service and entities.
“The goal of the EICS deployment in MDAs is to diminish corruption risks, system abuse and revive ethics and integrity benchmarks in government offices while ensuring good service delivery. The tool was deployed between April and July 2022 in 360 MDAs with special focus on the education sector in consonance with the 4th National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector themed ‘Reducing Corruption in the Education Sector’”.
The index showed that 260 MDAs responded and were rated according to degree of compliance with the scoring criteria.
52 agencies score zero in ranking
Further breakdown of the report shows that 52 agencies scored zero in the ranking, which means they did not respond to enquiries on them.
They were marked as “High Corruption Risk (HCR)” by the commission and are “flagged for the attention of the public and for further inquiries and actions”.
Prominent among those in this category include the Federal Ministry of Education, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, National Judicial Institute, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, National Bureau of Statistics and the National Pension Commission.
Others are: Centre for Women Development, Court of Appeal, National Gallery of Arts, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, National Population Commission, National Environmental Standards Regulations Enforcement Agency, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, National Centre For Disease Control, National Broadcasting Commission, National Hospital, National Examination Council, Minna, Universal Basic Education Commission, Federal Civil Service Commission, National Boundary Commission and the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria.
Also on the list of non-compliant MDAs are; Council for Regulation Of Engineering in Nigeria, National Agricultural Seeds Council, Kwali, Nigeria, Social Insurance Trust Fund, and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron.
Other ministries with low ranking are the Federal Ministries of Water Resources (35.50), Labour and Employment (32.48) and Ministry of Justice (18.95).
Further checks by Daily Trust show that about 15 MDAs of the federal government scored below the 30 mark.
They are National Commission for Museums and Monuments (29.93), Projects Development Institute, Enugu (29.90), National Commission for Refugees, Migrant and Internally Displaced Persons (29.69), Federal Ministry Of Petroleum Resources (29.55), Librarians Registration Council of Nigeria (29.45), Federal High Court of Nigeria (28.73), Federal College of Education, Pankshin (26.65), Federal Medical Centre, Katsina (24.63), National Institute for Cultural Orientation (22.50), Bureau of Public Procurement 20.40, Federal Ministry of Justice (18.95) National Board for Technology Incubation (18.35), Police Service Commission (15.78) and Centre For Basic Space Science, Enugu (11.20).
Assessment targeted at improving transparency of MDAs – ICPC
Speaking to Daily Trust on the report, spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, said ICPC looked at existing policies and systems in place to address corruption as well as the compliance of MDAs in keeping with those policies and systems in place.
“These policies are grouped under three, which are management measures and culture, financial management systems and administrative systems. Subsequently, we administer a questionnaire that measures compliance of these agencies and they have to print existing documents to show that they are complying and this is what we have been doing since 2019 when we started this exercise and those that are not complying we find out why they are not complying and address it,” she said.
Speaking further, she said “Agencies with high corruption risk or non-responsive MDAs, are those that were not able to administer the ethics score card for one reason or the other because of the ASUU strike that was ongoing at the time it was administered and some of them didn’t have the requisite document.
“So, we write to find out why they didn’t respond. If the reason is concrete, we try to take them in the next round but some of them are not able to give us the needed documents, we tag them as high corruption risk. So what we do is to go in there and carry out system study and review to find the gaps that are making them have a proper record and we can go ahead to meet management and if it requires training, we go ahead and do that. However, when they don’t cooperate, our last resort is to go ahead and investigate,” she further explained.
Ogugua added that some MDAs have improved since the exercise started in 2019, stating that the essence of the exercise is to ensure that MDAs do the right thing.
“Many agencies are now responding and some agencies that were analog then, are now being digitised and you know when a process is digitised it gives little or no room for corruption,” she added.
Report by ICPC show failure of criminal justice system – Expert
Executive Director, Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CeFTIW) Umar Yakubu said the report shows the failure of the criminal justice system.
“One of the strong pillars of democracy is the criminal justice system and when you have institutions that are responsible for formulation of policies and implementation failed in the integrity scorecard is a clear reflection of what you see of the failure of the criminal justice system.
The criminal justice system has three strong pillars. The prosecution and the ministry of justice is there, Police Service Commission and Federal High Court are supposed to execute a lot of crimes and you can see that all these agencies have a weak score in integrity and ethics which shows failure,” Yakubu said.
He added that the only way it can be improved is when Nigerians elect good leaders to ensure that the issue of tribes and religion are expunged as weak institutions cannot do more to promote integrity.
He added that “Leaders in those institutions must do what they are executed to do because the major area that is lacking is implementation and the chief executives of such agencies should be the ones to be blamed in such cases, which is why Nigeria needs good leaders to head sensitive agencies.”
He added that the media and CSOs must also hold government agencies responsible.
Daily Trust’s effort to get reactions from some of the agencies who did not participate in the process did not yield results as of press time last night.