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SERAP Writes Lavan, Gbajabiamila on ‘£ 4.1bn Fresh NASS Missing Funds’

SERAP Writes Lavan, Gbajabiamila on ‘£ 4.1bn Fresh NASS Missing Funds’

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) called on Senate President Dr. Ahmad Lavan and House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamilu “to use their good offices to urgently investigate and report to the relevant anti-corruption agencies the new allegations which are N4. 1 billion of government money allocated to the National Assembly has gone missing, misappropriated, stolen or stolen, according to the audited report of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation for 2016. “

SERAP says: “These allegations are not part of the auditor general’s disclosure in other audited reports that N4.4 billion of National Assembly money was lost, stolen, diverted or stolen.”

In a letter dated May 15, 2021, signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolavole Oluvadare, the organization stated: “As part of its legislative and oversight functions, the National Assembly plays a key role in the fight against corruption in the country. But the legislature can do little to combat corruption unless leadership and members first address the issue of perceived corruption and mismanagement within its ranks. ”

SERAP also urges Dr. Laban and Mr. Gbajabiamilu to “identify lawmakers and officials suspected of involvement and bring them to the appropriate anti-corruption authorities for prosecution with sufficient admissible evidence and ensure full recovery. any missing public funds. “

The letter read, inter alia: “Ensuring an effective investigation into these new allegations and full reimbursement of any missing public funds will strengthen the country’s accountability system and show that the National Assembly can fulfill its constitutional responsibility to strengthen the voice of Nigerians. It will also prove that the body is acting in the best interests of the people. ”

“SERAP is concerned that allegations of corruption continue to undermine economic development, violate social justice and undermine confidence in economic, social and political institutions. Nigerians bear the heavy economic and social costs of corruption. Thus, the National Assembly is obliged to restrict it. “

“According to the general auditor’s report for 2016, the money of the National Assembly No. 4.144.706.602.68 was lost, stolen or stolen. The National Assembly, without any documents, paid some contractors 417,312,538.79 N. The Auditor General wants the Chancellor of the National Assembly to “collect the specified amount from the contractors.”

“The National Assembly reportedly spent 625,000,000.00 N 625,000,000.00 through the Constitutional Review Committee between March and June 2016, but without any paperwork. The auditor wants the Chancellor of the National Assembly to “collect the amount from the committee and provide evidence of the recovery for verification.”

“The National Assembly also reportedly spent N66,713,355.08. E. As “staff costs”, but “the beneficiaries in the cash book did not match the beneficiaries in the bank statement”. The auditor general wants “irregular expenses to be reimbursed by the official who approved the payments.”

“The National Assembly also reportedly paid some contractors NN 116,162,522.60 without any documents. E. National Assembly withheld 56 985 568.55 AD. E. From various contractual payments in connection with withholding tax and value added tax, but without any proof of transfer. “

“The National Assembly also reportedly paid 126,264,320.00 N126 264,320.00 advances to 11 employees between March and December 2016 for the purchase of goods and services, but was unable to transfer the money.”

“The Senate reportedly paid N 747,286,680.00 in personal advances to staff between February and December 2016 for various contracts and services, but was unable to withdraw the money. The Senate also withheld 118 625 057 N 48 as withholding tax and value added tax, but showed no evidence of a transfer to the Federal Revenue Agency. ”

“The Senate also spent 109.007.179.73 N109.007.179.73 from the vote on capital expenditures, but without any paperwork.”

“Reportedly, the House of Representatives has deducted N 821,564,296.48 from employees’ salaries. E., But did not transfer money to the tax authorities. The Court of Accounts also paid N 254,059,513.70. E. As an advance to employees for the purchase of goods and services in the period from January to December 2016, but could not receive the money. “

“The National Institute for Legal Research reportedly spent 375,867,000.00 N3 on 11 vehicles in April 2016. But the Institute also paid the same contractor NN 36,610,000.00 in September 2016 under the same contract without approval. “

“The institute also reportedly paid 10,927,768.80 N10 7 employees who were appointed by the National Assembly to provide specialized services, but without any details of the paid staff and without any justification.”

“The National Assembly Service Commission reportedly approved N109.995.400.00 for training some officers in Dubai, UAE, but spent N127.629.600.00 as an Estacode allowance for participants and compensation for two consultants participating in the training. The commission also spent 9,975,000.00 ns. E. To pay for courses for 34 officers, but also paid a consultant 4,987,500.00 ns. E. To pay for the same courses. “

“The Legislative Aid Section earned N12,274,587.77. E. In the form of interest on bank accounts with a commercial bank in the period from January to December 2016, but could not transfer money to the Consolidated Income Fund. “

“We would be grateful if you would indicate the steps taken to address the allegations and implement the proposed recommendations within 14 days of 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 will take all necessary legal action to compel the leadership of the National Assembly to implement these recommendations in the public interest and promote transparency and accountability in the National Assembly. Assembly. “

“The National Assembly can effectively fulfill its anti-corruption role only if it can demonstrate exemplary leadership to substantiate allegations of corruption and mismanagement involving the legislature.”

SERAP notes that the auditor general documented in reports for 2015, 2017 and 2018 that N 4.4 billion in public funds allocated to the National Assembly were lost, stolen, diverted or stolen.

“Addressing the charges would increase public confidence and confidence in the National Assembly’s ability to fulfill its constitutional and oversight responsibilities and uphold the highest standards of integrity.”

The letter was copied to Mr. Abukabar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Professor Bolaji Ovasanoye, President of the Independent Commission on Corruption and Other Related Crimes (ICPC); Mr. Abdulrashid Bawa, President of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); and the Chairmen of the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly.

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