The Kaduna State anti-corruption network, under the Community Anti-Corruption and Accountability Project (CLAAP), on Thursday engaged stakeholders on accountability and effective audit processes.
The engagement was done in Kaduna, in collaboration with the Kudan Development Network, Aminu Kano Center for Democratic Studies,and MacArthur Foundation.
Mr Yusuf Goje, a member of the anti-corruption network from Coalition of Associations for Leadership Peace Empowerment and Development (CALPED), said they were leveraging on the Kaduna State audit process to enhance the public knowledge on seeking accounts of public projects.
He added that the engagement was also to increase the stakeholders’ awareness on the audit law, institutions and process towards better transparency, accountability and in fighting corruption.
“The engagement will brainstorm on approaches for better collaboration in the audit process for both vertical and horizontal accountability towards improved quality of service delivery and curbing corruption,” he said.
Goje explained that the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, through the MacArthur Foundation, had been supporting civil societies in the North West to promote community-led anti-corruption initiatives.
“As part of that, we in Kaduna have introduced CLAAP to work with community stakeholders to track projects and procurement process to ensure that leakages are blocked.
He explained that the dialogue seeks to raise community awareness on audit process which provides factual basic information of actors, and actual monies the Government released for certain projects and interventions.
“The citizens can use the information in assessing the projects to see if their is value for money and the quality of the project is actually what was stipulated in the contract,” Goje said.
Also speaking, Mr Francis Musa, from the office of the Auditor-General, Local Government audit, Kaduna state, said they had recorded significant successes from their core mandates of auditing the 23 Local Government accounts.
He explained that they report back to the state assembly, to follow up any observation or corrections by the house committee on local government account.
“Recently, one of our reports on 23 LGAs audit won US$ 200,000 which we shared among them,” Francis said .
He mentioned planning, preparation and field work, among other processes which he explained could help in auditing contracts and procurement.
Also, Barr. Hassasn Danjuma, the Head of Anti-Corruption Unit in the state Ministry of Justice, lamented the low level of participation by the public on anti-corruption crusades.
He attributed the low participation to the public knowledge of their existence at the Ministry of Justice which he said was established about a year ago.
“On our part, we have some challenges from the beginning because we are trained prosecutors, we don’t have the knowledge on investigation, most of our cases apart from financial crimes are sent to the police for investigation,” Danjuma said.
He, however, said that the law that establishes the Kaduna State anti-corruption unit provided powers for investigation and prosecution.
He also noted that they have acquired some basic aspects of investigations which made them receive more than 30 complaints and petitions from Organisations and individuals.
“So far, we have prosecuted about 10 cases, recovered some things through plea bargain and hopefully we will secure convictions of those in court,” he said.
Also, Malam Samaila Sulaiman, Deputy Director, Research and Documentation, Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, said this is the fourth year of leading the MacArthur-funded project.
He appreciated the partners’ commitment in contributing to the success of the project which is aimed at unraveling corruption especially at the grassroots.
“The impact of the anti-corruption project has permeated the society, and is increasing in institutions, religious bodies and individuals.
The programme featured a panel discussion, interactive session and commitment by stakeholders, including traditional leaders, on intensifying the campaign and fight against corruption in the society.