ICPC, others battle maritime corruption

ICPC, others battle maritime corruption
…Deploy 20 Corruption Risk Assessors to Lagos, Onne, Calabar, Warri ports

Bearing in mind the critical position of the port sector in growing and developing the economy, as well as securing any nation, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), in conjunction with local and international partners, has embarked on a Corruption Risk Assessment Project targeted at Nigerian seaports.
The project, which kicked off in February, is expected to be finalised in June.
The project schedule includes: April 4, 2013, Inception Meeting; April 8 – 15, 2013, Preparation; April 15 – May 30, 2013, Assessment; and June, Finalisation.
At the Corruption Risk Assessment in the Port Sector: Inception Meeting organised by the ICPC, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR) yesterday at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa, Lagos, the ICPC Chairman, Mr. Ekpo Nta, said that the port “sector is one of the highest revenue generating in the country that must be guarded jealously to avoid loss of resources and to ensure proper and efficient running of the facilities.”

Nta, who was represented by Alhaji Ozi Salami, explained that, it is in this regard that the ICPC, in collaboration with its national partners – TUGAR and BPP, is embarking on a Corruption Risk Assessment Project targeted at Nigeria seaports, with support from the ICPC’s international partners – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the non-governmental organisation (NGO), Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN).
“One of the functions of in Section 6 (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 is to ‘… examine the practices, systems and procedures of public bodies and where, in the opinion of the Commission, such practices, systems or procedures aid or facilitate fraud or corruption, to direct and supervise a review,’ ” the ICPC Chairman said.
Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA), according to him, is the process of examining the practices, systems and procedures of public bodies.
Nta said: “CRA is a corruption prevention tool, which works with an organisation’s management to identifying vulnerable areas that are prone to corruption, proffer recommendations, and develop integrity plans that would strengthen accountability and transparency towards checking corruption and enhancing service delivery.”

According to him, CRA is focused on studying organisational systems and operational environments with an view to addressing identified corruption risks therein.
He said: “CRA is not a tool of criminal investigation. It is strictly a tool for prevention of the occurrence of corruption. We are not here to apportion blame, but to carry out a systems study. Since it is much better and wiser to prevent the occurrence of corruption than to expend huge resources in investigations and prosecution after the damage has been done, the Commission places much stock on the CRA process. The objective of the CRA project in the port sector is three-fold: first to study the procedures at the ports, then map out corruption risks and, finally, design a comprehensive integrity plan to help the ports system address existing and future corruption-prone processes at Nigerian ports on its own.”
The ICPC boss explained that a set of 20 trained and certified Corruption Risk Assessors, who would work with an Inter-Agency Advisory Committee and a team of consultants, have been deployed for the assessment project in the ports, naming the target ports as Lagos, Onne, Calabar and Warri.
“In addition to this assessment project in the seaports, ICPC will very soon commence an extensive corruption risk assessment of our airports; our plan is to systematically conduct CRA across strategic public organisations.
“We want to assist institution to study and design internal systems that reduce corruption loopholes through integrity plans. This might sound academic, but we know that no factory or industry can run effectively if there is no deliberate quality assurance or control put in place to check bad products or services. It is in this spirit that we are undertaking this exercise and it is in everybody’s interest that we work as a team desirous of promoting the well-being of all stakeholders, our citizens and the nation,” Nta said.

Earlier in his address, the UNDP Team Leader, Prof. Sam Egwu, said: “The corruption risk assessment process, being driven primarily by ICPC, TUGAR and BPP, began in 2011 with the development of a corruption risk assessment methodology. The developed methodology eventually formed the basis for the development of a comprehensive training module that has now been used to successfully train over 60 corruption risk assessors drawn from government ministries, departments and agencies at both federal and state levels; civil society; and the anti-corruption agencies. It is from this pool of trained assessors that a team has been constituted to work in close association with experts and in consultation with relevant stakeholder for the conduct of this pilot corruption risk assessment in the Nigerian ports sector.”
Egwu said that the UNDP is proud to be associated with the initiative, and has supported it from inception on the basis that it lies at the heart of the mandate of three of the UNDP’s national partners on anti-corruption the ICPC, TUGAR and BPP.
“The support of UNDP for this exercise derives from our commitment to respond to the priorities set by the Nigerian Government, which includes fighting the malaise of corruption and achieving the country’s broader development goals, one of which is to increase Foreign Direct Investment to which the ports sector is crucial.
“UNDP remains committed to promoting public accountability and transparency in Nigeria, am objective that is crucial and closely tied to our larger goal of reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development in order to empower and build resilient nations. In furtherance of this, UNDP, remains committed to working in collaboration with partners and other stakeholders to mainstream anti-corruption measures into public sector management, as indicated by our ongoing support to this corruption risk assessment initiative,” the UNDP Team Leader said.

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.