MDAs use IT procurement to commit fraud – NITDA boss

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Everest Amaefule, Abuja

Some Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government have defrauded the country through the purchase of Information and Communications Technology services and equipment, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Dr. Isah Ibrahim, has said.

Ibrahim said this when he led a management team of the NITDA to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,.

In a statement by the Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, NITDA, Hadiza Umar, in Abuja on Friday, Ibrahim was quoted as saying that an alliance between the EFCC and the NITDA had become imperative in the face of wanton corruption being perpetrated by the MDAs through the IT procurement.

He said the MDAs were able to use the procurement of the IT products and services to perpetuate fraud because most of the projects passed through less scrutiny during budget defence at the National Assembly.

This, Ibrahim said, was so because expertise was required to ascertain the needs and specifications of the IT requirements.

The NITDA boss said, “Many of the MDAs consider the IT projects as conduit pipes to siphon public funds and I believe partnering the EFCC will bring sanity to the sector and by then the commission will be empowering the NITDA in strengthening its regulatory function through which it will also be developing and promoting local content in the IT sector.

“The EFCC may help in asking the MDAs to produce procurement clearance issued by the NITDA during their investigations. Supporting the NITDA will go a long way in blocking loopholes in the IT procurement.”

Ibrahim said the two organisations could form a working group, which would also serve as a desk to deal with sharp practices in the IT procurement.

He said the NITDA had been empowered to subject the IT procurement to value-for-money analysis, reduce projects duplication, justify the spending of public funds on the IT projects and to advise the MDAs on the alternative options of the IT products and services with a view to reducing cost, especially on the sharing of software among the MDAs.

The NITDA boss commended the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, for what he described as his doggedness, fearlessness and outstanding performance in acting capacity, adding that the feat could have taken some people 20 years to achieve in substantive capacity.

In his remarks, Magu expressed happiness about the visit and pledged that the EFCC would be “complying with the NITDA’s request” to bring some level of sanity to the procurement of the IT products and services by the MDAs.

Magu also pledged that the EFCC would comply with government’s directive on the procurement of the IT equipment and services in order to be an example to other organisations in the public service.

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