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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Uncovering Financial Irregularities In Nigerian Government Spending

Dislcoveries by Govspend, a platform monitoring government expenditures, reveal a concerning trend in Nigerian Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs). Over six years, a staggering N159.6 billion found its way into private accounts, shedding light on a pervasive issue within the government.

Key Findings:
The Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta topped the list, disbursing N8.3 billion to Ebikabowei Victor-Ben, a former Niger Delta militant. The New Partnership for African Development and various other MDAs, including the Ministry of Information, Ministry of Communications, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), were implicated in questionable transactions.

Violation of Financial Regulations:
In 2023 alone, a whopping N13.6 billion was funneled into private accounts, violating the country’s Financial Regulations of 2009. Notable violators included the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ministry of Women Affairs, and the scandal-ridden Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.

Specific Cases:
Detailed examinations uncovered transactions like the N4.72 billion paid by the Niger Delta office to camp leaders. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation’s office was also implicated, disbursing N3.1 billion into private accounts.

Complicity of Institutions:
Several institutions, including the EFCC, Police, and Human Rights Commission, were complicit in such transactions. Noteworthy figures, including former President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, received payments, explaining some transactions.

Legal Perspective:
Chapter Seven, Section 713 of Nigeria’s Financial Regulations 2009 explicitly prohibits public money being paid into private accounts, with any such action deemed fraudulent. While former government officials argue for transparent procurement processes, the Deputy Director of Fiscal Accounts acknowledges circumstances under which public money can be deposited into private accounts, citing the concept of ‘imprest.

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