SERAP asks Bukhari to explain how the Oil Ministry spent 116 million won on pens and more.
The Socioeconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on President Muhammadu Bukhari and Mr Timipre Silva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, to use their leadership positions “to urgently find out how your ministry is spending funds. $ 116 million to purchase pens, letterheads and toner in 2015 and disclose the amount spent on the same items between 2016 and 2020, and if there is evidence of misuse of public funds, refer the matter to the appropriate anti-corruption authorities for bringing to responsibility ”.
The Office of the Federation Auditor General last Thursday before the Senate Accounts Committee reported that officials from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum had spent 116 million AD. for the purchase of ballpoint pens, letterhead, and toner within one year and allegedly “. violation of the 2017 Public Procurement Law of the Permanent Secretary “.
In a letter dated 12 December 2020, signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization stated: “The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. [as amended], The United Nations Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption require the government to ensure the efficient and effective use of Nigeria’s resources in accordance with the public interest. ” …
SERAP says: “An effective and efficient ministry must monitor how public money is spent and implement a system to eliminate corruption, mismanagement, unnecessary, ineffective or unjustified spending.”
According to SERAP: “The transparency and openness of your ministry’s spending guarantees public trust, efficient, efficient and competent delivery of public goods and services. Your ministry’s openness to spending will also strengthen democracy in the country and increase the efficiency and integrity of government. ”
A copy of the letter to Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, read in part: “Any charge of misuse of public funds may constitute a serious misconduct that undermines the effectiveness of your ministry and undermines public confidence in the ability of ministries, departments and agencies. [MDAs] provide basic public goods and services to Nigerians. “
SERAP is concerned that the Office of the Auditor General’s allegations indicate serious violations of anti-corruption laws, the Nigerian constitution and international anti-corruption standards.
“Government officials and the MDA must act and make decisions about how public funds are spent in an open, transparent and accountable manner, and undergo the necessary scrutiny to ensure this is done.”
“A democratic government accountable to the people should be as transparent as possible and should not hide information for selfish reasons or simply to avoid embarrassment.”
“Therefore, we would be grateful if you could point out the steps taken to verify the N116m spending on ballpoint pen, letterhead and toner in 2015, and show the total amount spent on the same items between 2016 and 2020 during 14 days from the receipt and / or publication of this letter “.
“If we have not heard from you about the steps to be taken in this direction, SERAP Registered Trustees will take all appropriate legal action to oblige your ministry to implement these guidelines in the interests of transparency and accountability.”
“The Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources has a legal obligation to effectively investigate any allegations of violations of anti-corruption laws and international standards, including those related to the ministry’s spending on ballpoint pens, letterheads and toner since 2015. and 2020. “
“Our requests are in line with the government’s repeated promises to ensure transparency and are in line with the Nigerian Constitution, national anti-corruption laws, the Freedom of Information Act and Nigeria’s international obligations, including under the Convention of Nations. Let’s Unite Against Corruption and the African Union Convention to Prevent and Combat Corruption ”.
“According to our information, the 2015 report of the Auditor General of the Federation shows that the officials of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources spent 116 million AD. for the purchase of ballpoint pens, letterhead and toner within one year. “
“The breakdown showed that the ministry spent 14.5 million AE on the purchase of Schneider biro, No. 46 for printing ministry letterheads and No. 56 for the purchase of toner for its copiers.”
According to the General Audit Office, the Schneider biro contract in the amount of NOK 14.5 million. Dollars was divided into smaller packages of less than 5 million Norwegian. different companies to bypass the N5m Permanent Secretary approval threshold. “”
“A € 46 million contract for the printing of the ministry’s letterhead has also been split and given to 11 different contractors. The N56 million toner supply contract was split and assigned to seven different contractors. ‘”
“The Office of the Auditor General also informed the Senate Public Accounts Committee that the Permanent Secretary was unable and / or refused to“ explain this violation of the 2007 Public Procurement Law ”.