The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has recently recovered two high-rise buildings within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and N18 million from civil servants in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) and undeserving beneficiaries over an alleged breach of the Monetization Policy.
It may be recalled that the federal government, in 2005, under the Monetization Policy of ex-President Olusegun Obansanjo, sold some of its houses occupied by federal civil servants to them, in order to cut down the cost of governance.
Mrs. Rasheedat A. Okoduwa, mni, Spokesperson for the Commission said in recent times, ICPC has been inundated with petitions from patriotic Nigerians, drawing the attention of the Commission to allegations of widespread abuse of the policy by beneficiaries and some government workers.
The Commission, while acting on the petitions, discovered through preliminary investigation that a number of civil servants in OHCSF, who benefited from the policy had not paid for the houses since 2005. While some had completely defaulted, others are owing a sizeable balance of the money.
The investigation further revealed that 32,305 houses were captured by the Committee on the Sale of Government Properties while 24,345 were eventually sold to beneficiaries.
However, civil servants in some government agencies notably OHSCF and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) have allegedly turned the policy into a shoddy business with the aim of defrauding the federal government.
ICPC also found out that some public servants and government agencies were concealing government properties and collecting rent on same without the consent of the federal government, which allegedly flouts the intent of the policy that primarily focuses on divesting government’s interest from providing housing for its employees.
A further discovery by ICPC has shown that staff in OHSCF allocated some of the houses to undeserving beneficiaries who were not public servants at the time of the exercise and some of the properties are yet to be allocated.
The investigation has so far yielded a fruitful result with the recovery of N18, 031,000 from some civil servants and a host of companies including Montgomery & Campbell Ltd and SICCONS, which has been paid into the coffers of the government. ICPC assures Nigerians that anyone found guilty of contravening the law would be charged to court upon conclusion of the investigation