President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said the introduction of the Integrated Personnel and Information System (IPPIS) by Federal Government saved Nigeria billions of Naira over the last four years.

President Muhammadu Buhari, delivering the 2019 Independence Day speech

He said that it had also deterred the rampant theft and mismanagement of public funds.

Buhari stated this in a nationwide broadcast to Nigerians at the country’s 59th Independence Day Anniversary celebration in Abuja.

He said the strict enforcement of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy and the Whistle-blowers’ initiative had also helped in checking corrupt practices in the public service.

According to him, his administration is determined to ensure that transparency and good governance are institutionalised in public service.

To this end, he said, the Ministry of Justice, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would continue to address the menace of corruption in the country.

“We must commit to instilling a culture of good governance in all we do. This administration has fought corruption by investigating and prosecuting those accused of embezzlement and misuse of public resources.

“We have empowered teams of prosecutors, assembled detailed databases of evidence, traced the proceeds of crimes and accelerated the recovery of stolen funds.

“Furthermore, we partnered with our friends abroad to combat tax evasion, smuggling, terrorism and illicit financial flows.

“In June 2018, I assented to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act to provide a domestic legal framework for obtaining international assistance in criminal matters.

“This measure has already strengthened our law enforcement agencies in obtaining evidence, investigating suspects and facilitating the recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of property implicated as proceeds of crime.

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“An example is the 300 million dollars recently identified as part of the Abacha money-laundering case, working closely with the Government of the United States of America.

“The Federal Ministry of Justice is working with the U.S. Department of Justice to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding to expedite the repatriation of these funds,’’ he said.

The president noted that the P & ID Arbitral Award had underscored the manner in which significant economic damage had been caused by the past activities of a few corrupt and unpatriotic Nigerians.

He said: “The policies that we are putting in place today are to ensure such criminal and unpatriotic acts do not go without consequences.

“Our renewed partnership with the 9th National Assembly will facilitate the swift passage of enabling laws that will institutionalise these anti-corruption efforts in our criminal justice system.’’

Buhari enjoined state and local governments to intensify efforts toward instilling greater fiscal transparency and accountability, and to ensure “greater fiscal efficiency and optimum use of our very scarce resources.

“The blight of corruption is fighting back. Nevertheless, this is a battle that we shall see through and this is a war, which we shall win by the Grace of God’’.

He also called on Nigerians from every walk of life to combat corruption at every turn “by choosing to question and confront corrupt practices, by reporting unethical practices or through whistleblowing.

“Together, we can overcome corruption and will no longer be a country defined by corruption.” (NAN)

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