Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Mr. Ekpo Nta, revealed at the weekend that the Commission has uncovered 50 companies working with the Federal Ministry of Works, which forged tax certificates.
The ICPC boss, who stated this while appearing before the Senator Victor Lar-led Committee on Committee on Drugs, Narcotics, Financial Crimes and Anti Corruption said that 50 out of the 156 major contractors to the Ministry of Works have been discovered to submit forged tax certificates.
He said that the development would have robbed the Tertiary Education Trust Fund(TETFUND) of its needed resources if the deal was not uncovered.
He also said that the Commission had so far uncovered 45,000 ghost workers and saved the Federal Government the sum of N100 billion.
Nta also explained that the Commission has been able to track some Nigerians who specialize in cloning official Passports, adding the 375 International Passports have so far been seized.
He said: “We have seized official passports meant for top civil servants being used by traders. We have done serious work on that. I have seized about 375 international passports which we have published.”
Nta further said: “We have gone into direct intervention with Federal Inland Revenue Service, most of the big companies that do business for government have not been paying correct taxes or have been using forged documents.
“I can give you clear examples.156 companies that did business with the Federal Ministry of Works, we got involved and over 50 had forged tax certificates and we are prosecuting them, that has now led to a total change in respect of persons who want to get involved in government business.
On the ghost workers, he said that the Commission has collaborated with the Ministry of Finance to uncover the ghost workers.
He said, “Of course you know what we have done in the Ministry of Finance, on the issue of ghost workers, where over 45,000 ghost workers were discovered, that has saved over a N100 billion.
“We have a robust relationship with the Federal Inland Revenue Service. We have actually jailed some of their staff that are not doing the right thing and of course the Bureau for Public Procurement. We work hand in hand with them now.”
He said that in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) , his commission has installed a tracking device which would make monitoring of agencies and institutions easier.
He said that while the Commission has defended 24 cases successfully, it has also secured 12 convictions out of the 60 cases it prosecuted in 2014.
He said that the Commission had also focused its torchlight on the Universities where it has closed down over 26 illegal degree awarding institutions and rescued a number of students being victimized.
He added that ICPC rescued a female undergraduate of the Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma who had spent 12 years on campus for refusing sexual advances.
He said, “Now there is a student at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, who spent eight years without graduation and was been victimized, we moved in , through us he graduated.
“We moved into Ambrose Ali University, a girl stayed there for twelve years on the basis of sexual harassment, ICPC moved in, she’s graduated and we are working on prosecuting all the officials involved.”
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Victor Lar praised the ICPC for its strides in fighting corruption, adding that the Senate would expedite action on the bid to ensure financial autonomy for the anti-graft agencies.