The Ministry of Labor and productivity has been fingered in an ongoing investigation coming from independent Corrupt Practices and other related offices Over Employment scams, Illegal Recruitment, wages
The ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye SAN, made this disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja on the third summit On diminishing corruption in the Public Sector with Theme Corruption and cost of governance: New Imperatives for fiscal Transparency
He decried the rising cost of governance and rising personnel budget, blaming it on illegal recruitment and unilateral increase in wages and remuneration by some MDAs, including the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Owasanoye attributed the high cost of governance and rising personnel budget to illegal recruitment, illegal and unilateral increase in wages and remuneration by some MDAs, and procurement fraud among others.
He said, “The ICPC investigation of some cases of illegal recruitment forwarded to us by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has so far implicated the Ministry of Labour and the University College Hospital Ibadan and several corrupt staff of other MDAs at a lower level.
“This abuse of power is consummated with the complicity of compromised elements in IPPIS. These cases are currently under investigation.”
The ICPC boss added that at another level, some individuals within the service corruptly employ unsuspecting Nigerians, issue them fake letters of employment, enroll them on IPPIS and post them to MDAs.
Owasanoye added that the commission is tracking at least 1,083 projects across the country with the exception of Borno and Zamfara States due to security challenges.
He said, “We have so far initiated enforcement actions against 67 contractors and forced them back to the site and ensured completion of 966 projects worth N310bn, some of which were hitherto abandoned.
“Other challenges relate to duplication of projects in the budget. ICPC’s review found that 257 projects amounting to N20.138bn were duplicated in the 2021 budget, leading us to submit an advisory to the HMF which was promptly actioned by the Minister to prevent abuse.”
Reacting to the indictment by the ICPC, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, told journalists that he was the one that initiated an investigation when he discovered the employment racket in his ministry.
He said, “It’s an ongoing investigation initiated by me. They committed the fraud between May 29, 2019, and August 2019 when I was temporarily away as minister.
“I raised the alarm in Federal Executive Council necessitating the Head of Service of the Federation to do preliminary investigations and write ICPC after the internal ministry investigation committee set up by me was stalled by the then Permanent Secretary.
“ICPC should conclude investigation of 2019 by now, instead of making it look like a new development.”