Accountant General of the Federation queried over payment of N173bn without proper records

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The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) may have bent financial rules by making a total payment of N173 billion into various government accounts without details of what the funds were meant for, Nigeria’s foremost anti-corruption group said on Monday.

The OAGF under the watch of Ahmed Idris has been asked to explain to Nigerians how and why such a huge sum was paid into different ministries and parastatals without proper schedule on what the funds were meant for. Unless the OAGF complies, the prospect of a legal prosecution by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) may be imminent.

In a letter filed in line with the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011, HEDA in partnership with a data advocacy organisation, Dataphyte, asked the AcGF to, within seven days, furnish the organisations with full information and disclosure on what the funds lodged between January and April 2020 were meant for.

“One of the cardinal principles of accountability is that payments made by the OAGF into any government account must give details of what the funds are meant for. This is the best global practice adopted by many countries who are committed to the fight against corruption,” HEDA said in the letter signed by its Legal Officer, Rebecca David

On May 29 this year, a media concern, Dataphyte published a report titled, “N173 Billion Payments Without Description Defeats Nigeria’s Open Government Initiative” indicating the failure of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to properly describe payment made to contractors and government agencies.

HEDA said this was observed in a Dataphyte analysis of data on the Open Treasury Portal which showed that N173 billion worth of payments between January and April 2020 had no description. The payments are cumulative records of 1,353 payments to various ministries, parastatals, security agencies, educational institutes, among others. HEDA also attached details to the request.

HEDA also attached detailed information containing the analysis highlights, date, payment number, payer code, name of organisation, name of beneficiary and amount while the purpose and description of each payment was not stated, hence the need for this request.

The group noted that the between January 2020 and April 2020, indicated that payments made were not described to capture the purpose or description of the payment urging the Accountant General to provide a comprehensive and detailed description on the payment made within the stipulated period.

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