Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says about N1.3trillion public funds were stolen by 32 entities between 2011 and 2015.
He made this known on Monday while speaking at the opening of the 2019 First Batch Conversion Training Programme to Procurement Cadre for Federal Parastatals and Agencies, which was organised by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in Lagos.
Magu, who was represented by the Commission’s Secretary, Ola Olukoyede, raised the alarm on how the huge amount has affected infrastructure development in the country, stating how it has deprived children of going to school.
He said: “One third of this money, using World Bank rates and cost, could have comfortably been used to construct well over 500km of roads; build close to 200 schools; educate about 4 000 children from primary to tertiary levels at N25million per child; build 20,000 units of two-bedroom houses across the country and do even more.
“The cost of this grand theft, therefore, is that these roads, schools and houses will never be built and these children will never have access to quality education because a few rapacious individuals had cornered for themselves what would have helped secure the lives of the future generations, thereby depriving them of quality education and healthcare, among others.”
The EFCC chairman stated that the poor state of the procurement process is one of the major reasons corruption continued to thrive in government agencies and parastatals. He listed some of the fraudulent practices in the procurement process in Nigeria to include kickbacks, conflict of interests, fraud in the bidding process, bid suppression, collusive bidding, bid rotation, market division and unnecessary purchases for personal use or resale.
Magu noted that the major problem in Nigeria is corruption and could destroy the country if adequate measures are not put in place. He also urged the participants to use the training given as a tool to curb corruption in their respective places of assignment.
“I sincerely hope that at the end of this training, we will see a few cases of financial propriety in our procurement processes in government agencies and parastatals. Indeed, corruption could kill Nigeria, if we do not scale up our proficiency in contract and procurement management process,” Magu said.
“The establishment of the EFCC in 2003 was because of the determination of the Federal Government to combat fraudulent activities of some Nigerians and foreigners, mismanagement in the economic sector, corruption by public officials and lack of accountability and transparency in government dealings," he added.