By our reporter/ Funds were withheld for duplicated projects discovered by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Ben Akabueze, director general of the budget office of the federation said on Friday.
Bolaji Owasanoye, chairman of the ICPC, had disclosed that 257 projects amounting to N20.138 billion were duplicated in the 2021 budget.
According to Owasanoye, the commission tracked 1083 projects across the country with the exception of Borno and Zamfara states, owing to security challenges.
But speaking on Channels Television Sunrise Daily programme on Friday, Akabueze said 54 out of the 295 projects were not duplications but only had description issues.
According to him, every project in the budget had a unique identifier, adding that funds were withheld for 185 projects that were indeed duplicated.
“The ICPC came up with a report, which they sent to us about duplicated projects that they found in the budget. We did our own review, we found that 54 of those projects were not actually duplications but they were issues with project descriptions” he said.
“This description made them look the same but they are not the same. Every project in the budget has a unique identifier.
“And which were found to indeed be duplicated, released funding was withheld from such a project. From the list we received from the ICPC, there are only 185 duplicated projects, 54 were not.”
Akabueze further stated it is the responsibility of the ICPC to take necessary actions against those involved in the duplication of projects in the nation’s budget.
According to him, the best the Budget Office could do was to withhold the release of funds for such a purpose to help the nation save its resources.
“We have our own job description, we have the limit of our own authority,” the accountant stated. “When it (duplicated project) is discovered, the most – on our own part – that we can do is withhold release of funds to those specific projects.
“The ICPC has already reported. They have investigative powers, so they actually pull in the people involved to investigate whether these are willful actions to defraud the government or whether they are erroneous. They are the ones with the authority to do so, we don’t (have such authority).”