•Corruption well and alive under Buhari- Sagay
•Blames lawyers, accountants, bankers
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has lamented that anti-corruption war is hard and takes time to achieve significant success.
He however, warned that the federal government will not tolerate any of its official who wants to sustain corruption in the system.
Osinbajo who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria on Trade and Industry, Mr. Ade Ipaye, stated this on Tuesday, at the Breakfast Meeting on Rethinking Business Conduct and Practices-A Sustainable Concept to Transforming Nigeria’s Business Eco-System in Abuja organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) in collaboration with The Nehemiah Place.
He nevertheless vowed to pursue a head-on fight, stressing that the federal government is determined to encourage those who plan not to interact, imitate, implement, perpetuate or sustain corruption.
According to him, “fighting corruption is not something that the government can achieve in a jiffy”, adding “it does take time to achieve a feat”.
“We are not ignorant of the fact that combining the fight against corruption and building a strong economy is not an instant. Last year we issued an executive order 001 the major objective of it was more transparency and efficiency in the business environment,” he added.
But the Vice President assured that government will do all within its capabilities to sanitizing and sanitise the business and investment environment.
Speaking further, Osinbajo stated that what the private sector can do to rid corruption from the country, is through “self- regulatory measures by the private sector is as important as government measures to block all the loop holes that encourage corrupt practices”.
Nevertheless, he harped on the need for an enabling environment, saying the “Government is determined to create systems that ensure that anybody who comes in contact with the government agency, ministry or department, will benefit from the corruption free system.”
“When you create an exactly corrupt free environment for people to transact business with government, the economy and everyone is a winner at the end of the day, he stated.
In the same vein, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, has admitted that a lot of corruption and corrupt individuals are still much within the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
Sagay however, noted that government is much more focused at tackling corruption from the top before it descends on the lowest cadre.
Speaking to journalists, he said government is currently going after high profile persons that have enmeshed themselves in corruption but regretted that it is very much prevalent within the system.
He said: “What government is doing now, it is starting from the top, the big ones, the highly privileged ones, the high profile persons who take billions of naira, millions and hundreds in terms of dollars, those are the ones being dealt with now.
“People are still doing it blatantly, Police, Customs, you name them, even though we have some very strong disciplined anti-corruption people, particularly the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali yet others are still doing it.”
Sagay noted that corruption has become a way of life among Nigerians and agreed with Osinbajo that the war would not be won overnight but would take a while to achieve success.
According to him, anti-graft war is a long distance race and “not something that can be done overnight, we laying a foundation, Buhari’s government is laying a foundation and our hope is that successive governments will build on it.”
“I think what we have to do is to be persistent, we will continue doing what we are doing now and gradually percolate downwards and also the other thing we have to do is to try and encourage a positive attitude amongst our people, we must begin to do things that will encourage them to be honest, to have integrity, even if it involves reward.”
Notwithstanding, Sagay assured that quite a lot is happening and with time “we will begin to adjust to the new circumstances that you must earn what you deserve, no more free meal for an adult who should be working for his living that is the message we are pressing forward.”
He went further to urge the professionals, private individuals and businesses to support the fight against corruption noting that without the support of lawyers, accountants and bankers fraud and money laundering would be impossible.
In the same vein, the Director-General of Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mr. Mamman Ahmadu, warned that in compliance with the Procurement Act any company that is involved in corrupt deals would be barred from government contracts for a minimum of five years.
Ahmadu noted that “a worker who collects salary without working and contractors that collect payment without executing their contracts are guilty of corruption”.
He said that the BPP has developed a Code of Conducts for businesses in Nigeria and would also be leveraging on information technology to fight corruption in Nigeria.