The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on the Accountant-General of the federation to urgently recover short-term loans it advanced federal ministries, departments and agencies from the Special Funds Accounts totaling N910 billion.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “We received the news that the Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, which scrutinized the 2017 report of the Auditor General for the Federation discovered the anomaly. According to the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF), query, loans and debts arising from Special Funds Accounts totaling N910,039,557,742 showed that the balances remained unpaid throughout the year even when they were meant to be short term”.
“It should be noted that the Committee observed that there was a continuous abuse of the Special Funds by the Executive arm of government as the withdrawals were continually made for political expediency outside the purpose which the funds were meant for. The Senate therefore ordered that all outstanding loans should be recovered by the Accountant General of the Federation and evidence of recovery presented to the Auditor General and Senate Public Accounts Committee within 60 days”.
The anti-corruption Czar opined that “It is disheartening and demoralizing how public funds are being mismanaged by the management of most of the MDAs. Inasmuch as we are not against giving out such loans based on the exigencies of the time and paucity of funds that may arise occasionally, the office of the Accountant General ought to have scrutinized the purpose for which these short term loans were sought before giving it out to the MDAs concern. There ought to be concrete arrangements for repayment of the loans and penalties that payment default would attract ought to be made crystal clear for the MDAs concern to know before giving them these loans. In case of default, the loans ought to be deducted from the appropriation to the MDA concerned in the following year’s budget.
“As we have said earlier, we have observed that there have not been serious punishment for impunities like this hence civil servants and public officials who were supposed to hold their position in trust for the members of the public and the generality of Nigerians engaged in financial recklessness knowing fully well that there will not be backlash for their actions. This trend is not peculiar to the MDAs only, as both the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) and other existing financial laws are either inadequate or contradictory in addressing modern challenges posed by corruption in the country”.
The CACOL Boss further enthused, “We want to commend the Senate Public Accounts Committee for investigating the whereabouts of this huge sum of money and for giving a marching order that all outstanding loans should be recovered by the Accountant General of the Federation and evidence of recovery presented to the Auditor General and Senate Public Accounts Committee within 60 days. We would also want them to go beyond this order and ensure that all MDAs that defaulted in paying back these loans are published, the amount being owed should also be deducted from their next appropriation and their management should be made to face the full wrath of the law in order to serve as deterrent for others.”