A former staff of the Federal Ministry of Works, Mr. Eddy Oko-Jaja has described the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as an excellent anti-graft institution which he stressed, Nigerians should be proud of.
Oko-Jaja a spinal cord patient made the assessment of the Commission in a personal letter he wrote to the Chairman, Barrister Ekpo Nta as he expressed gratitude on the manner ICPC assisted him to recover the unjustly withheld sum of N8 million earlier approved for his medical expenses by the Ministry 20 years ago.
He had without luck, fought tooth and nail to access the money, which according to him, had been released to offset his outstanding medical bill after undertaking a medical treatment in the United Kingdom in 1995, until the ICPC stepped in.
Against the frustrations he encountered while attempting to access the released fund, Oko-Jaja, on December 2013, filed a petition before ICPC with a complaint that the sum of N8 million approved for his medical expenses on treatment of his spinal cord injury was being withheld unjustly by the officials of the Federal Ministry of Transport.
He said in the petition that he sustained the spinal cord injury while on an official duty. An approval was granted for his medical treatment overseas in 1995.
According to him, the Ministry refused to pay the medical bill which he affirmed was released by the Budget Office of the Federation, thus suspecting that the sum had been embezzled.
However, with the ICPC’s intervention, the outstanding sum of N8 million, which had been returned to the government two decades ago, was eventually released and paid to the petitioner on December 24, 2014 thus bringing his agony of 20 years to an end.
A highly elated Oko-Jaja, who sojourns in the UK wrote a letter of gratitude to the Chairman of ICPC intimating him of the payment and in the process, described the Commission as “An excellent institution in my assessment of international statute and probity, something Nigerians should be proud of”
He said he chose to praise ICPC in that manner because of the way it transparently and meticulously handled his case ‘with the above board credibility’
According to him, “If every institution and Government machinery and functionaries were to adopt similar approach, the attempts to solve the problem of corruption that is endemic in our national life that has been very damaging to the country internationally would reach an encouraging level in line with other countries across the world”
The ICPC Chairman while acknowledging the commendation has however credited the success to the doggedness and transparency of ICPC staff. He also paid tribute to the understanding and cooperation of both the current management of the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Budget Office of the Federation. According to the Chairman, ICPC was more interested in putting a human face to helping victims of actual or perceived acts of corruption by State actors hiding behind officialese.