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SERAP urges Buhari to probe ‘missing’ N106b in MDAs

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Buhari. Photo: TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate allegations of N106billion public funds missing from 149 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as documented in the 2018 annual audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation.

The body also urged Buhari to direct the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, to create a system of public announcement to name and shame the indicted 149 MDAs, including those that reportedly failed to remit over N55billion of their revenue, awarded contracts worth over N18billion for services not rendered and those that spent over N23billion without any supporting documents.

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SERAP said: “Anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any missing public funds should be fully recovered.”

In a letter dated April 17, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The reported missing public funds reflect the failure of the indicted MDAs to ensure strict compliance with transparency and accountability rules and regulations, and the failure of leadership of the MDAs to foster institutions that uphold the rule of law and human rights.”

According to SERAP, recovering the alleged missing public funds would reduce the pressure on the Federal Government to borrow more money to fund the budget, enable the authorities to meet the country’s human rights obligation to progressively realise Nigerians’ rights to quality health care and education, as well as reduce the growing level of public debts.

In the letter copied to Malami; Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye; Chairman, Economic, and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa; Mrs. Ahmed and chairmen of the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly, SERAP further called on Buhari to ask Ahmed and the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, 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.

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