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Budgit exposes N4.5 billion suspicious payments by MDAs

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Budgit, a transparency and accountability organisation, has said N4.5 billion payments were effected into private accounts by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) between January and May this year.

This is coming despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that MDAs must document any expenditure above N5 million.

Budgit’s Programmes Officer, Chinwe Umeh-Ujubuonu, who made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja during the launch of govspend.ng portal for citizens to track government spending, claimed that N2.5 billion was paid by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs to some individual accounts from March to May alone.

“How can we ascertain that these stipends were actually paid to the beneficiaries and what measures have been put in place to ensure proper usage of funds,” she queried.

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According to Umeh-Ujubuonu while N308 million was paid to personal accounts in January and N342 million in February, March recorded N2.2 billion.

The Budgit official added that N1.009 million was paid to individual account in April and N1.084 million expended in May.

Of the total N2.21 trillion payments allegedly made between January and May, as captured on the open treasury portal, she said N2.05 billion was disbursed without explanations.

The funds released without descriptions, according to her, included N389 million in January, N191.5 million for February and N726.4 million in March.

She added that N478 million was paid without itemisation in April and N271million for May.

Earlier, the agency’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gabriel Okeowo, who acknowledged that government had done a great job in capturing its spending publicly, regretted that the data on the open treasury portal were mostly in non-machine readable format and undownloadable, hence the need to develop the current portal to rectify the issue.

He clarified that the new platform simplifies and visualises treasury reports uploaded on the portal for citizens and civil societies to access, monitor and understand Federal Government’s real-time expenditure.

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