OrderPaperToday – A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on the implementation of the NEITI audit report findings and recommendations.

In the MoU, the NEITI and the ICPC agreed to collaborate on investigating infractions identified in the NEITI industry reports, enforce sanctions, prosecute erring covered entities and provide general institutional support towards enthroning transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s extractive industries.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji signed on behalf of NEITI while the Chairman of the ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye signed on behalf of the Commission.

Shortly after signing the MoU, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji told the media that he was satisfied that the partnership between the NEITI and the ICPC is now anchored on a robust MoU.

“The focus of this MoU is to provide incentives for good conduct and stringent sanctions for bad behavior in the conduct of business in Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining industry,” he stressed, adding:

“We see ICPC as a very strong partner that we need to work with in our intervention in the extractive sector. Our intervention is aimed at freeing up resources in the extractive sector to support government’s efforts at providing the much needed infrastructure for Nigerians, uplift their standard of living and support national development.”

Dr. Orji called on covered entities to take seriously, the findings and recommendations of NEITI reports and take the necessary steps to implement the recommendations.

“All findings and recommendations in NEITI reports will be jointly investigated with the relevant anti-corruption agencies and culpable entities sanctioned and promptly prosecuted”, Dr. Orji warned.

On his part the Chairman of the ICPC, Dr. Bolaji Owasanoye, expressed delight that the partnership agreement has culminated in the MoU which validates the agreement.

“We have committed to have focal persons dedicated to NEITI operations, have quarterly interactions as well as extract cases for investigation and further follow-up actions from NEITI audit reports” He said.

Professor Owasanoye also observed that the timing of the MoU was very significant with the assent of the President to the Petroleum Industry Act.

“Our collaboration will have positive impact on the implementation of that legislation and improvement in the transactions and governance processes of the oil and gas sector, including recovery of revenue into government coffers” the Professor concluded.

A special desk on NEITI has been created by the ICPC and a focal person appointed. NEITI is expected to feed the desk with information and data on extractive industry revenue process abuses and lapses.

Both agencies will jointly investigate infractions where it occurs, while ICPC prosecutes and sanctions erring covered entities.

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