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, Zainab Ahmed, to create a system of public announcement to name and shame the indicted 149 MDAs, including those who reportedly failed to remit over N55 billion of their revenue, awarded contracts worth over N18 billion for services not rendered and those who spent over N23 billion without any supporting documents.
SERAP recommends that anyone suspected to be responsible should face appropriate prosecution if there is sufficient, admissible evidence, and any missing public funds must 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 budgets, enable authorities to meet the country’s human rights obligation to progressively realize Nigerians’ rights to quality health care and education, as well as reduce the growing level of public debts.
In the letter, SERAP further called on Buhari to ask Ahmed and the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, to explain why they allegedly failed to ensure strict compliance with relevant legislation, rules, and regulations across all MDAs, despite the warnings and recommendations by the Auditor-General.