Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye has called on community leaders to enthrone integrity, transparency and accountability at their communities in order to end corruption.
He made the call in Owerri on Thursday during a workshop on behavioural change, national ethics and integrity policy and constituency projects tracking initiative for traditional and religious leaders and community based civil society groups.
The chairman who was represented by the South – East representative on the board of the ICPC, Senator Anthony Agbo, stressed that all hands must be on deck to fight corruption to standstill.
He identified corruption as the root of every problem facing the country: from insecurity to poor infrastructures.
Owasanoye added that corruption is largely perpetrated by civil servants in active service, not politicians, saying crimes such as budget padding and project duplication are some of the ways corruption is proliferated in the civil service and resources misappropriated.
Therefore, he urged community and religious leaders to keep track of government projects and the funds appropriated for such projects for transparency and accountability, appealing to them to use their influence to bring about the desired behavioural change and promote the national ethics and integrity policy.
The ICPC boss call on the whistleblowers to point out persons engaged in corrupt practices to arrest the situation before it leads to more decay.
In his presentation, the Imo Resident Anti Corruption Commissioner (RAAC), Mr Peter Alumbugu, told community and religious leaders to rid their communities of corrupt practices through behavioural change strategies, charging them to closely monitor corrupt practices and transparency issues and report observed infractions to ICPC without delay.
He equally advised them to thoroughly study and review the operational systems in procurement and implementation of public projects and encourage community members to participate actively in execution monitoring.
He however noted that the commission has been proactive in preventing and eradicating the diversion of public funds in the implementation of public funded projects. The RAAC said this is done through collation and analysis of suspicious projects which are tracked and properly investigated, leading to enforcement and possible prosecution of those involved.
He said this has led to significant positive improvement and impact on the works of various implementing agencies and a higher percentage of projects executed to specification.
The workshop also featured a paper presentation titled “Advancing the core values of the National ethics and integrity policy for behavioural change: the role of traditional and religious leaders.”
The presenter, Assistant Director ICPC, Mrs. Chinwe Egbeocha enjoined participants to imbibe the values of the policy, teach others and collaborate with the ICPC and other agencies.
Similarly, the state Director of the National Orientation Agency, Mrs. Maureen Oparaji, pledged for the support of the agency in promoting the vision and activities of ICPC.