The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has thrown its weight behind the Nigerian Senate in its bid to probe revenues being remitted by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) between 2014 and 2020 and the payment of one per cent stamp duty on all contracts awarded by the MDAs within the same period.
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, Debo Adeniran, he stated, “We were flabbergasted with the news that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are yet to remit over N2 trillion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government between 2014 and 2020. This disclosure was made by Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC- Lagos), in a statement by Kayode Odunaro, his Media Adviser recently”.
The senator spoke on the heels of the ongoing investigation of remittances of revenue by MDAs and payment of 1 per cent stamp duty on contracts between 2014 and 2020. Adeola was quoted as saying “the unremitted revenue may have been trapped with the MDAs or spent on frivolous expenditures. He said this is contrary to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007. He said the minister, director general, budget office, and the Accountant General of the Federation, were invited to speak on the unremitted funds which was revealed from investigations of the committee. The investigation has so far revealed that many agencies were involved in illegalities relating to expenditure of funds that should be remitted into Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF)”.
The anti-corruption Czar opined that “We have said it over and over again that it is disheartening and demoralizing how most of the MDAs flagrantly disregard the directives of the National Assembly and the country’s Auditor-General (AuGF) on submission of audited accounts for necessary vetting and scrutiny because there is a lacuna in our Constitution that has made it expedient for them to tactically evade such order with no fear of backlash or any sanction whatsoever for such impunity.
The CACOL boss further enthused, “We want to commend the Senate Committee on Finance for investigating and bringing this issue to public knowledge. Over the years, we have been at the forefront of championing calls for the legislature to take full charge of their oversight functions especially in situations where public funds were misappropriated. With the advancement in technology today, most of the looting or financial manipulations would be effectively prevented and detected ab initio if we focused more on prevention and greater accountability and independence of organs saddled with oversight and embrace e-governance as a matter of urgency.
“We at CACOL, would like to recommend that henceforth Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) that fail to remit their funds to the federation account should not receive appropriation in subsequent year’s budget and the various Anti-Corruption agencies in the country should be called upon to investigate the whereabouts of the money in question and any official(s) found wanton should be prosecuted or make to face the full wrath of the law to serve as necessary deterrent”.
“This is no doubt, in line with our previous calls for the audit law and other useful legislation that are already begging for speedy consideration and passage in the National Assembly for ages to be accorded due attention so that the fight against official corruption could become a thing of the past in the country”.