Wed. Jun 16th, 2021

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to probe “missing N106 billion” in 149 ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs).

SERAP, in a letter dated April 17, urged Buhari to direct Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), and anti-corruption agencies to investigate the allegation of missing funds in MDAs in 2018.

It noted that the federal government can use the alleged missing funds to fund the budget, instead of borrowing, if recovered.

“SERAP urges you to ask Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, minister of budget, and Mr. Ahmed Idris, the Accountant-General of the Federation to explain why they allegedly failed to ensure strict compliance with relevant legislation, rules, and regulations across all MDAs, despite the warning and recommendations by the Auditor-General,” the letter signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, its deputy director, read.

“SERAP also urges you to direct Mrs. Ahmed to publish full details of the yearly budgets of all MDAs, and issue regular updates that accurately detail their expenditures, including by making any such information easily accessible in a form that can be understood by the public.

“The Auditor-General stated that the alleged infractions by the 149 MDAs could have been prevented if the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Accountant General of the Federation had heeded his warning to ensure strict compliance with relevant legislation, rules and regulations across all MDAs.

“SERAP is concerned that the alleged missing public funds have hampered the ability of the MDAs to meet the needs of average citizens, as the missing funds could have helped your government to invest in key public goods and services, and to improve access of Nigerians to these services.

“Investigating and prosecuting the alleged grand corruption documented by the Auditor-General would improve the chances of success of your government’s oft-repeated commitment to fight corruption and end the impunity of perpetrators. It will improve the integrity of MDAs, as well as serve the public interest.

“Any failure to promptly investigate the allegations and prosecute suspected perpetrators would breach Nigeria’s anti-corruption legislation and the country’s international anti-corruption obligations.

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.

“SERAP has carefully analysed the recently released 2018 audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation and our analysis reveals the grim allegations that N105,662,350,077.46 of public funds are missing, misappropriated, or unaccounted for across 149 MDAs in 2018.”

(THE CABLE)

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