We Can Investigate Public Officers Despite Immunity Clause –ICPC | Independent Newspapers Limited
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We Can Investigate Public Officers Despite Immunity Clause –ICPC

Posted: Jul 22, 2015 at 7:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Hassan Zaggi –  Abuja


Public officers hiding under the cover of immunity clause to commit all manner of corrupt practices need to watch out. This is as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has warned that the immunity clause in the Nigeria’s constitution did not prevent public officers from being investigated, contrary to the erroneous views held by many Nigerians.

The Chairman of the ICPC, Barrister Ekpo Nta made the clarification in Abuja, yesterday.
He reiterated that the issue of immunity which many Nigerians use to spare public officers from being investigated was not meant by the framers of the constitution to be a safe haven for some corrupt serving public officers.

“Immunity does not cover or bring to an end criminal investigation, there is no act in existence today that says you cannot investigate anybody, what it says is that you cannot prosecute some sitting officials at certain levels”.

Nta emphasised that the major function of anti-corruption agencies and the police “is to get any accused into the law court with whatever evidence the commission has against them and for the law court to determine the merit of any such matter, so that we don’t become persecutors.”

On implementation and assessment of the national budget, which is largely done by the legislative arm of government, the ICPC boss reiterated the committed efforts by his agency to spur various ministries and MDAs to be accountable for whatever quota accrued to them.

Ekpo Nta said before now, at the end of the financial year, ICPC used to go round all the MDAs to look at the left over funds which probably had not been sent back to government coffers
“We did a lot of recoveries, thank God we now have the electronic platform which shows clearly that this fund is not there or it is here”,
While commenting on the on-going Bank Verification Number (BVN) exercise , Nta noted that, it was the right step in the right direction, as the exercise was long overdue.

“I had said clearly that the on-going exercise of biometric capture of all bank customers would aid anti-corruption agencies in tracing fraudsters who use the banking sector to dupe innocent persons.

“With the on-going exercise, when you tie that up with National Identity Card, the driver’s licence, the voters’ registration, there is a strong likelihood that I should be able to trace who these fraudsters are”.
Nta pledged that the Commission would take the fight against corruption to a new level, noting that at “every course of our country’s development, we have not felt happy about the act of corruption that we have to face.”