Auditor-General of the Federation Anthony Ayine yesterday expressed concern over the conduct of staff of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Code of Conduct Bureau and his directorate staff as anti-graft agents of government.
“As anti-corruption agencies, can we say of truth that we are a solution to the fight against corruption in Nigeria, or problem to fighting corruption,” the Auditor-General asked the directors of the various agencies at a one-day sensitisation/interactive workshop on the topic.
“The Effect of Corruption on Professional Conduct” held yesterday in Abuja. Ayine said whether the Auditors and anti-corruption officers apply the ethics of their profession remains a question that needs to be answered.
The workshop was designed for the directorate/supervisory staff to look inward (into their conducts). He told the participants to “use the mirror we use to examine others to look into ourselves and discuss frankly what are our attitude towards the fight against corruption?
“Do we use our office as avenue to pursue individuals and institutions and yet we are guilty of same offences, aiding corruption for personal gains? What image do you carry as an Auditor? Can it be said that you have high integrity?” he asked, adding that integrity is key to an Auditor.
Also, director, reform coordination & service improvement in Code of Conduct Bureau, Mr N. Agom-Tor made paper presentation on the effect of corruption on professional conduct. He centered his presentation on systemic (endemic) corruption which he said occurs primarily due to weaknesses of an organization or its processes.
Mr Agom-Tor said there is so much abuse of discretion in public service. “Some don’t even bother to read about their mandate as soon as they assume power,” he said, while recalling the remark by the Attorney General of the Federation that Boards of MDAs do not have power to suspend or remove an appointee of the President.
“In the public sector, corruption manifests itself in the process of allocating public funds, for contracts grants and hiring,” the Director said.
He said official corruption or abuse of power has resulted in lack of transparency, culture of impunity, monopolistic powers, low quality service and maladministration which he said is responsible for the making of official decisions in a manner which is contrary to law, arbitrary” use of power.
As solutions, Agom-Tor suggested that Auditors be always guided by substantive procedural fairness; seek to abrogate discretionary bureaucratic decision-making that adds no value to the end product. He wants the Anti-graft agents and Auditors to also uphold merit-based recruitment/promotion procedures that are backed by law, with a leadership by example at various levels.
“They must have a high moral commitment which is expressed in a regulation for professional guidance,” he added.