The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences commission (ICPC), has warned incoming lawmakers to be wary of corruption pitfalls in the areas of oversight functions, contract award and soliciting appointments into public offices for their constituency members.
The ICPC Chairman Mr Ekpo Nta gave the warnings at the induction certificate course organized for newly elected lawmakers from the Houses of Assembly at the interactive section that took place at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.
According to Nta, some of the lobbying and recommendations from legislators on contract awards and public office appointments constitute abuse of public office for private gain. He noted that award of contracts and appointments are duties of the executive to which there are laws guiding the conduct.
He however clarified that his words were not to issue threats to the newly elected lawmakers but to make them aware of the pitfalls that exist on their way to performing their duties, considering the many requests and much pressure that will come from members of their constituencies.
“As members of the National Assembly, you will be under very severe pressure to undermine all the provisions of the laudable laws you have passed or will pass. Your constituencies will remind you constantly that you are here through their votes and that in return, you must fund all their future marriages, naming ceremonies, burials, provision of scholarships, potable water and electricity, jobs in selected government offices either as your PA or full time employment”.
“All the roads leading to your communities must be tarred, and if already tarred provided with street lights, sponsor medical treatments abroad or locally. How do you intend to fund all these activities? The answer is yours to provide. How you can avoid all these? Hold all the agencies that should provide social services strictly accountable by demanding accountability and openness”, Nta admonished.
When asked what the positon of the ICPC would be if any law maker is suspected of any corruption offence, Nta said that, “it is the position of the law that the lawmakers themselves made and made certain Acts punishable under the law and we are not the one who will punish. We simply present the facts to the court that this is what has happened in this instance, and the court will decide whether we were right or they were right in doing it”.
“What I’m saying is that I’m giving you an advise now, if you take that advise, we will remain friends but if you don’t take that advise and do things which under the law are not correct, we will now have to invite you to come and address us on petitions we have received in respect of an infraction”.