The National Assembly Joint Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition Tuesday, directed relevant anti-graft agencies to immediately begin a probe of a contractor who abandoned a project since 2015 after collecting N1.5bn mobilization fee.
The contractor was said to have abandoned the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau in Abuja which is still in foundation level after four years.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP Ondo Central), who presided over the joint session, made the revelation when the the CCB, Code of Conduct Tribunal and the Public Complaints Commission, appeared in the federal parliament to defend their 2020 budgets.
He wondered why neither the management of the CCB nor any other agency of government had raised the alarm on the disturbing development, over the years.
He said, “The Federal Government paid N1.5bn to a contractor in a bid for the nation to have a befitting headquarters for the Code of Conduct Bureau in the Federal Capital Territory. As of 2015, the project was still at the foundation stage and nothing has been done since then.
“I recommended in the 7th Senate when I was the chairman of this Committee when the case came up sometime in 2015. I recommended that that about N700m should be put in the budget to enable the CCB to buy an already completed building that could converted to office.”
He berated the CCB for taking no action on the contractor despite being one of the statutory agencies in country recognized by the constitution to fight graft.
” We want you (CCB) to furnish us with the project details, and if any refund had been made by the contractor. We expect the relevant anti – corruption agency to have started the probe of the contractor before now”, he added.
The Joint committees lamented the poor funding of the CCB, Code of Conduct Tribunal and the Public Complaints Commission being anti – graft agencies constitutionally established to fight graft in the country.
The lawmakers described as alarming, the revelation by the CCB Chairman, Mohammed Issa and the Chairman of CCT, Danladi Umar, that they have not received any capital vote from 2018 till date.
They unanimously agreed that the three anti graft agencies should be placed on first line charge so that their budgets would henceforth enjoy 100 per cent funding from the federation account.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Akinyelure said, “ Considering the current complaints about poor revenue accruable to the Federal Government, the budgets of the CCB, CCT and the PCC, should be on first line charge under statutory transfers.
“We are going to communicate that to the executive, so that whatever is approved for them would be released to them 100 per cent so that they could do their work effectively. We need to do this to show Nigerians that we are serious about corruption war in this country.”