The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Monday prayed a Federal High Court, Abuja, to order the interim forfeiture of N840 million linked to an ex-President of the Benue State Customary Court of Appeal, Mrs. Margaret Igbeta.
Concise News learned that the Commission, in an ex-parte motion filed at the court, revealed that the request would halt Mrs. Igbeta from accessing the money purportedly to have been ill-gotten through fraudulent activities in the course of her official duties.
According to ICPC, the request for the interim forfeiture is pursuant to Section 48 (1), (2) and (3) (a) and (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and Section 6 (6)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
Igbeta was alleged of operating a proxy fixed deposit account using the name of her maid on the account, one Theodora Atsu, with Ecobank Plc, where she saved N870, 321, 492.15 between 2008 and 2019.
The retired President of the Customary Court of Appeal was observed to have opened the account with her passport and the name of Atsu on the 5th of March, 2008, with an opening deposit worth of N8 million. Afterwards, she made several other huge deposits to the account including N123, 745, 925.57 and N5 million, in the months of March and May of the same year, 2008.
The Independent Commission also noted that the money was far beyond her legitimate earnings both as a judge and President of the Customary Court of Appeal within the period that the account was operated, therefore, the money would have been used to meet the infrastructural needs of the citizens and development of the nation.
Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on the same vain as urged Nigerian citizens to take an active part in budget tracking to curb corruption in the country.
Concise News understands that the State Commissioner of ICPC, Akwa Ibom State, Shola Shodipo, said this in Uyo during a 2-Day training workshop on using Budget Data and Freedom of Information Act to fight corruption for civil society organizations and community representatives.
Shodipo said while speaking at the event that budget tracking was one of the tools that could be used to fight corruption in the country, stressing that this would check abuse of public funds.
He said that without budget tracking, approved financial resources meant for specific projects would be diverted and would not get to the end-users.
He added that though budget tracking “is a constitutional role of lawmakers in the National and States Assembly, the citizens should not leave it for them alone.”
According to him, he said grand corruption has been a major hindrance to the legislature in performing the onerous task of budget tracking through their oversight function.
Shodipo said “The people must accept the challenge of putting their eyes in budgetary matters. They stand to gain or lose depending on the steps they take.
“They may be lackadaisical, in which case, billions would be budgeted yearly and there won’t be value for the money which would amount to losses for them.
“They can show enough concern with a view to ensuring that budgets produce value for money which is gain to society.”
He also added that citizens’ participation in budget tracking would help translate budget intentions to reality.
The ICPC commissioner in the state stated that grand corruption had impacted negatively on the social welfare projects which have a direct bearing on the lives of ordinary people.