Posted by News Express | 19 November 2020 | 358 times
By TAIWO AMODU, Abuja
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has tasked the federal government to consider adequate use of technology to surmount corrupt practices of public officials, adding that revenue-generating agencies of government under-declare remittances.
He gave the advice on Thursday during his investiture and induction as Patron by the Chatered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria.
The President of the Senate who said the focus of the anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should be on how to prevent corruption rather than running after culprits, accused federal government revenue generating agencies of shortchanging the Federal government by under-declaring remittances.
He said: “Whenever and wherever we want to fight corruption, we must ensure that we emphasise on prevention because corruption has been in existence maybe as old as when human beings started to live on earth. So people will always try to take advantage of the system. Therefore, we must emphasise on how to prevent it and make it difficult for civil servants especially, I am sorry to say that, those who are entrusted with public funds to have undue access and opportunity to divert public funds.
“We have to prevent it because some believe that if they try they can get away with it and the best way to deal with this is to make it difficult and where possible make it impossible to access public funds for personal use.
“This anti-corruption framework can enhance the prosecution and sanctioning process. We have emphasized prevention as a good route to reducing corruption, given the tendency of individuals to exploit weaknesses in systems. People are more likely to take advantage of loopholes than they can create it. Technologies are additionally expected to reduce loopholes, because of their sophistication, the skills required, and for the fact that they are structured.
“Effective usage also requires time to establish. Using technologies therefore limits, or prevents the chances of infractions, and eventually saves prosecutorial time and resources.
“Many countries have reduced corruption through science and technology for their ability to limit human interaction and then ensure that operations are strictly procedural.
“Our experience in the National Assembly recently has shown that the revenue-generating agencies of government, many of them, will collect revenues but not all the revenues are remitted to the appropriate account of government. We believe that we can do better if we deploy technology in the collection and transmission of the revenues. That is why the Federal Inland Revenue Service has received complete support from the National Assembly to become more digital in the area of collection of revenues so that we limit leakages and embezzlement that some officers would try to engage in.”
Senator Lawan further urged the EFCC to expand its crusade against financial sleaze to financial institutions, as he noted that corruption also pervades the private sector.
“It is not only in government agencies that we have this kind of attitude, even in private organizations. So our anti-corruption agencies should go beyond looking at what the government agencies are doing, they should also look at what our banks are doing.
“Some of these banks, I don’t have figures or names, a lot of times we have placed implicit trust in them but money are diverted and accounts that have no approval of the Accountant General to be opened will be operated. Before the introduction of TSA, we have had stories of hundreds of bank accounts operated by some agencies but of course, we know the limit the Accountant-General of the Federation has approved for agencies of government to operate.
“It is a very reasonable route, as it is consistent with the new age of technology, where devices are replacing humans in social, economic, or business relations. We have been on the path of increasing the use of technology, but we still have to do more.”
Earlier in her remarks, Protem President of the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria (CIFIPN), Dr Ayeshetu Victoria Enape, said that the Forensic and investigative profession involves practitioners made up of people of diverse academic backgrounds cutting across law, criminology, cyber security, police detectives, economists, and finance specialists.
According to her, the procedures deployed by the professional body in investigations “involves the skilful deployment of science and technological tools to prevent, detect, or resolve or expose possible criminal activity emanating from economic transactions.”
She added that “the emergence of the forensic and investigative profession on the global scene was based on the realization that fraudsters have gone sophisticated and in some instances are taking advantage of the 21st digital revolution to perpetrate corrupt practices that are undetectable by conventional investigative approach.”
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