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 the appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate the reported spending of over N880 billion of public funds by 367 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in 2018, without appropriation.
In the open letter dated August 7, 2021, signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation which relied on the 2018 annual audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation, said any of such investigation should establish whether public funds had been mismanaged, diverted or stolen. It stressed that anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate.
SERAP said if the federal government fails to take recommended measures within 14 days, it would take legal actions against the government in the interest of the public.
The letter read in part: “According to Part 2 of the 2018 annual audited report by the Auditor-General of the Federation, N880,894,733,084,811 was spent by 367 MDAs without appropriation. Fourteen MDAs reportedly spent N162, 924,630,539.20 without appropriation. Similarly, 100 MDAs spent N229, 136,261,325.73 on ‘social benefits’ without appropriation.
“Furthermore, 151 MDAs exceeded their 2018 Overhead Appropriation by N476, 625,502,048.87 without any evidence of supplementary appropriation or approved virement to support the extra-budgetary spending.”
It stated further: “102 MDAs also reportedly spent N12, 208,339,171.01 on subsidies without budgetary provisions. The Auditor-General is concerned that the money may have been misappropriated.
“Identifying and naming and shaming those who spent public funds without appropriation 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 serve the public interest. These damning revelations suggest a grave violation of the public trust, the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended], and international human rights and anti-corruption standards. Spending of public funds without appropriation will create opportunities for corruption.”
Credit: This Day