The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate claims that N106 billion of public funds are missing from 149 ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs).
According to the SERAP, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, must ensure an appropriate probe of the matter.
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.”
SERAP also urged him “to direct Mrs Zainab Ahmed Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to create a system of public announcements to name and shame the indicted 149 MDAs, including those that reportedly failed to remit over N55bn of their revenue; awarded contracts of over N18bn for services not rendered; and spent over N23bn without any supporting documents.”
The Organization made the demands through a letter dated 17 April 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 realize Nigerians’ rights to quality health care and education; as well as reduce the growing level of public debts.
“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 also 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.”