The House of Representatives has accused the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) of lying to the nation about the amount of money recovered during their investigations into constituency projects execution.
Spokesman of the House, Benjamin Kalu told Assembly Correspondents that the amount recovered by the Commission as contained in its report was N660 million in cash and assets as against the over N100 billion that is currently in the public domain.
He said the Commission has not been totally truthful to the people regarding constituency project investigations, adding that the commission’s report suggest that only five of the about 423 constituency projects spread across the country were abandoned, while three never took off.
He said “the ICPC visited a little over 490 projects out of which they told us that about 380 were not actually separate projects. They also told us that the projects were spread across 423 locations.
“Out of this 423, they were able to visit 373. They confirmed that 255 were healthy. They also confirmed that 108 projects were ongoing. They are ongoing maybe because the money that was released for them in the first year was 30 percent and were rolled over to the following year.
“They found out in their report that only five projects were abandoned and only three projects never started. These are contained in the report. They recommend only eight lawmakers for prosecution. These are contained in the report.
“But the news out there is that N1 trillion has been wasted and nothing to show for it and that N100 billion has been recovered from the National Assembly. So, you can imagine how the public will feel. They didn’t even know that you visited 37 projects and 108 were ongoing 255 has been completed and handed over.
“If they know that, Nigerians will not raise so much dust because that constitutes 85 percent of the entire projects. They did not recover over N100 billion as announced everywhere. They recovered N660 million in property and cash.
“So, when you have these kinds of statistics, push it to the Nigerian people to see and don’t make a hasty generalisation by saying that the National Assembly is corrupt. So, who built the 255 and who is doing the 108? So, these are the kinds of things that are going on and that is why we ask Nigerians to dig deeper to find out the truth.”
Speaking on the member of the House declared wanted by the ICPC, Kalu said “we are not justifying the eight that has been pencilled down for prosecution. The current National Assembly is busy with a mechanism that will allow us visit these constituency projects as well as do our own investigative report on a periodic basis for our members so that when you report your own and it is against what we have found out, we know what to do.
“The Public Affairs committee will be visiting most of these projects because we have all the monies released for these projects documented. We will go and find out how far these projects have gone after which we will prepare our quarterly report which will reflect the number of work done, the number of jobs approved, those ongoing so that we will not need ICPC again to do the job for us. We will do in house one first so that when the external one comes, we will see whether it is collaborating it or not.”