By Seun Adeuyi
Nigeria’s Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has advised the federal government to consider adequate use of technology to surmount corrupt practices of public officials.
Lawan gave the advice on Thursday during his investiture and induction as Patron by the Chatered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria.
According to the President of the Senate, revenue-generating agencies shortchange the government by under-declaring remittances.
Lawan said the focus of the anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should be on how to prevent corruption rather than running after culprits.
His words: “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.”