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Nigeria: SERAP demands probe of missing $278m in 2018

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to order investigation into the allegations that…

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to order investigation into the allegations that N106 billion (about $278.947 million) of public funds are missing from 149 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).According the SERAP, a non governmental organization, the information is documented in the 2018 annual audited report by the Auditor-General of Nigeria.

SERAP has therefore requested President Buhari to “direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to probe allegation”.

 “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 said in a statement released on Sunday.

It also urged Buhari “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 N55 billion of their revenue; awarded contracts of over N18 billion for services not rendered; and spent over N23 billion without any supporting documents.”

In a letter dated April 17, 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director. Mr. 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.”

 “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 realize Nigerians’ rights to quality health care and education, as well as reduce the growing level of public debts,” it said.

It noted that 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.”

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest,” SERAP warned.

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