According to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Ministries, Departments, and Agencies added N300 billion to the 2021 budget.
It said that the padding, which they accomplished by duplicating projects, increased the budget to N13.59 trillion.
According to the anti-corruption organisation, the MDAs also included duplicate projects worth N100 billion to the 2022 budget.
This increased the budget for the current year to N17.12 trillion.
This is in addition to the N49.9 billion that was reportedly paid to ghost workers between January and June of 2022.
Prof. Bolaji Owasannoye, the chairman of the ICPC, announced them in Abuja on Thursday.
He provided the input at a discussion with the Senate Committee on Finance about the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper for 2022–2025.
He said the ICPC discovered the project duplication and budget padding for the two years during scrutiny of projects approved for the various MDAs.
“N300 billion would have been wasted by the Federal Government on duplicated projects inserted into the 2021 budget.
“Federal Government would have wasted another N100 billion in the 2022 budget if not tracked and intercepted by the ICPC.
“The same pre-emptive move saved the country from spending N49.9 billion on payment of salaries to ghost workers inserted into payrolls by the fraudulent MDAs between January and June this year.
“Names of MDAs involved in projects duplication and fictitious payrolls are available and will be forwarded to the committee,’’ he said.
Owasannoye explained that ICPC’s interception ensured that monies for the fraudulent acts were prevented from being released to the affected MDAs.
“It is gratifying that the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General’s Office cooperated with us,’’ he stressed.
The ICPC chairman advised relevant committees of the National Assembly to look out for such project duplication in the proposed N19.76 trillion 2023 budget.
“From our own end, detection of such projects is done by verifying their locations and names, upon which we tell the appropriate authorities not to release wrongly budgeted monies,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the chairman of the committee, Sen. Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos West), assured that ICPC’s operational cost would be increased from the current N1.8 billion.
“This committee is impressed by the proactive ways your commission has adopted in the fight against corruption.
“Your submissions clearly show that all hopes are not lost for our dear country as far as fighting corruption is concerned.
“Your operational cost which is N1.8 billion will be increased as the required impetus for more proactive measures against corrupt practices across the various MDAs,’’ Adeola said.