A whopping N1.3 trillion public funds were stolen by 32 entities (human and corporate) between 2011 and 2015, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu has said.

Magu made the revelation yesterday in his keynote remarks at the opening of the 2019 First Batch Conversion Training Programme to Procurement Cadre for Federal Parastatal and Agencies.

The event was organised by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in Lagos.

The EFCC chair, whose paper was delivered by the Commission’s Secretary, Ola Olukoyede, decried the impact of the huge financial loss on the country.

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 4000 children from primary to tertiary levels at N25 million 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.”

He identified the poor state of procurement process as one of the major reasons corruption continued to thrive in government agencies and parastatals.

Magus listed some of the fraudulent practices in procurement process in Nigeria to include: kickbacks, conflict of interests, fraud in the bidding process, bid suppression, collusive bidding, bid rotation and market division.

Others, according to him are: co-mingling of contracts, change order abuse, cost mischarging, defective pricing, false statement and claim, phantom vendors, product substitution, unnecessary purchases and purchases for personal use or resale.

The EFCC chair noted that the training was aimed at giving the participants the tools, knowledge and understanding they would need to carry out their duties in their respective places of primary assignments in an efficient and transparent manner.

“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 parastatal. Indeed, corruption could kill Nigeria, if we do not scale up our proficiency in contract and procurement management process,” Magu said.

Giving insights into what necessitated the establishment of the EFCC in 2003, he 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.”

Magu expressed confidence that Nigeria still has patriotic and credible individuals who would do all within their abilities to uphold the credibility and honesty required for leadership in public offices

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