Quantity Surveyors Seek Synergy with EFCC to Tackle Fraud in Construction Industry

President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, NIQS, QS Kene Nzekwe has called for collaboration with the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC, to tackle fraud in the construction and infrastructural sectors.

He made this call in Abuja on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 when he led other members of the Institute on a courtesy visit to the Commission at its corporate headquarters.

According to him, Nigeria’s significant budgetary resources towards infrastructures are being marred by pervasive spectra of corruption, depriving citizens of basic services that they rightly deserve.

“The litany of allegations surrounding contract inflation and embezzlement of funds meant for infrastructure projects paints a damning portrait of systemic corruption”, he said.

He particularly pointed at the findings of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative, COST, which estimated that about $5trillion could be lost annually to corruption in the construction sector by 2030. “COST’s estimation that up to US$5trillion could be lost annually to corruption in construction worldwide by 2030 underscores the gravity of the situation, revealing a landscape rife with instances of contract inflation, embezzlement and the abandonment of vital projects”, he said.

On the strength of the findings, Nzekwe called for closer collaboration with the EFCC, stressing that his Institute is available to lend a hand in breaking the monster of corruption. “So we commend your unwavering commitment to combat corruption at its root, it is in the spirit of partnership and collective action that we offer our hand in solidarity and present our commitment to your noble mission. We have contributed to the recoveries of billions of naira and we are available to do more”, he said.

He also expressed support and commitment to the preventive framework put forward by Olukoyede, promising that every nook and corner of the nation would be reached to drive the initiative. “We believe that prevention is better than cure. So, we will give you all the support down to the grassroots. We equally seek to reopen further discussions on the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU which we started in 2021 between EFCC and NIQS to further forge our collaboration”, he said.

Responding, Olukoyede appreciated the visit, stating that “NIQS is a huge stakeholder in the anti-corruption fight. He disclosed that about 70 percent of corrupt practices could be traced to contracts and procurements as Nigeria has lost about N2.9 trillion within 2 to 3 years to the fraud. He also noted that about 50 percent of money released for capital projects are always diverted and converted into dollars for personal use.

He tasked NIQS to look inwards and flush out bad eggs in its fold, maintaining that self-cleaning is the best modality of growth and development. “My principle has always been for you to start with yourself, talk to your people first, when you sanitize your house, you will be able to correct other people. That’s why I started with my staff first when I came in, I told them to declare their assets. Because whoever comes to equity must come with clean hands.

He commended NIQS, stating that, “You are doing well and I know you can do better, let’s work together”. He further assured that the EFCC will revisit the MOU by constituting a committee to look into it on how it can be better implemented to suit the current dispensation.