MDAs that fail to disclose their receipts are suspects, says AGF
Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris yesterday declared that Ministries, Department Agencies (MDAs) that fail to publish reports of their COVID-19 activities as provided in the framework for the management of funds at stipulated intervals will be treated as suspects.
He stressed that this would be especially so as such failure constitute early warning signs of mismanagement and shall be deemed as contravention of the guidelines.
Idris who spoke through the Director of Treasury Single Account (TSA), Silver Okolebor at a Zoom Webinar meeting organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), added that MDAs should also respond to the Freedom of Information (FOI) request from individuals or groups within seven days of receiving such requests.
Reminding participating MDAs that the COVID-19 fund were public property, the AGF noted that members of the public were invested in ensuring that the funds were used in transparently and prudently.
“For this reason, any participating MDA that contravenes this Guideline may be sanctioned from continued participation in the programme. Also, the name of the MDA and its principal officers shall be made public as additional measure of transparency,” he said.
Explaining the scope of the framework, he said, “This Framework covers all public funds allocated and dedicated to the fight against COVID 19 including the Fiscal Stimulus Package.
“It also applies to all donations by corporate bodies and individuals to the Federal Government towards the fight against COVID 19 and mitigation its socio-economic effects on citizens including donations under the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Fund domiciled with the CBN.”
Meanwhile, the ICPC has disclosed that it was investigating alleged cases of corruption in the management of COVID-19 funds and palliatives.
It Director of Operations, Akeem Lawal, stated this during a virtual meeting of stakeholders tagged, “COVID-19 Funds Management and Monitoring.”
In his presentation titled, “ICPC Monitoring Obligation and Strategy Re: COVID-19 Emergency,” Lawal said the commission was investigating alleged fraud by some participating public institutions in the release and distribution of grains from the strategic food reserve.
He said others include alleged infractions in the procurement of palliatives, logistics and community enlightenment activities, adding that there were cases of state governments using the pandemic to exploit local government areas financially.