The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership has reiterated the call for Nigerian legislature to take full charge of its oversight functions, especially in situations where public funds are misappropriated.
It also urged that heads of ministries or other government agencies found guilty of sleaze be made to face the full weight of the law, without any prejudice.
The centre spoke against the backdrop of the Senate’s ongoing probe of MDAs for failure to remit N2tn revenue between 2014 and 2020 into the government’s coffers.
“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,” CACOL Chairman, Debo Adeniran, said on Tuesday in a statement to Financial Street.
Adeniran described as unhealthy and warranting urgent attention, the situation whereby MDAs could evade the National Assembly’s directives on submission of their audited accounts.
“It is demoralising how most of the MDAs flagrantly disregard the directives of the National Assembly and the country’s Auditor-General on submission of audited accounts for necessary vetting and scrutiny.
“This is 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,” he stated.
While commending the Senate Committee on Finance for investigating and bringing the sleaze to public knowledge, Adeniran however noted that such may never have happened if appropriate preventive actions were in place.
His words, “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, the independence of organs saddled with oversight and the embrace of e-governance as a matter of urgency.”
The CACOL also recommended that “MDAs that fail to remit their funds to the federation account should not receive appropriation in subsequent year’s budget.”
It, therefore, called for the use of anti-graft agencies to track missing monies, while such offending official, if guilty, is prosecuted to sere as deterrent.
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