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General News of Thursday, 30 September 2021

Source: saharareporters.com

Minority lawmakers give committees 2 weeks to investigate misappropriation of funds

House of Representatives House of Representatives

The minority caucus in the House of Representatives has given a two-week deadline to standing committees to submit reports of investigations into allegations of financial misappropriation in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

This is according to a motion by the minority leader in the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu.

He noted that the MDAs had yet to dispense funds released for the purpose of implementing the 2021 Appropriation Act, and had been allegedly engaged in financial misappropriation by diverting such funds for other purposes.

He also observed that the MDAs are channels responsible for the delivery of government policies, but stated that the constitution has conferred powers of appropriation on lawmakers.

According to him, if the alleged corrupt practices are not checked, President Muhammadu Buhari administration's fight against corruption would be discredited in the eyes of Nigerians and the international community.

His submission reads: “Note that the ministries, departments and agencies are the channels responsible for the delivery of government policies.

“Further note that section 80-84 of the 1999 constitution as amended confers powers of appropriation on Parliament as well as its oversight responsibilities over the national purse.

“Aware that section 80(4) of the constitution specifically states that no money shall be withdrawn from the consolidated revenue fund or any other public fund of the federation except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.

“Further aware that complying with the constitutional requirements on the spending of public funds would ensure effective and efficient management of public resources and put the country's wealth and resources to work for the common good of all Nigerians.

"Concerned that though between 40 and 60 per cent of funds have been released for purposes of implementing the 2021 Appropriation Act, yet most of the MDAs are yet to dispense these funds for the purposes meant for.

“Further concerned that some of the MDAs are alleged to have engaged in financial misappropriation by diverting such funds for other unrelated purposes thereby frustrating government macroeconomic framework, while others are in outright denial of not receiving such releases.

“Worried that these alleged practices violate the letters and dictates of sections 80-84 of the 1999 constitution as amended outright and frustrate the implementation of government policies.

”Further worried that if these alleged corrupt practices are not put to check, the perceived fight against corruption by Mr President would be discredited in the eyes of Nigerians and that of the international community."

He listed the resolutions as: "Mandate all standing committees to thoroughly investigate agencies they supervise and identify such infractions.

“Mandate the committees on finance and appropriation to liaise with the ministry of finance to ascertain releases made to ministries, departments and agencies in compliance with the 2021 appropriation act.

“That all the standing committees should conclude this within 2 weeks and report back to the house for further legislative actions before the presentation of 2022 budget estimates.”

Recall that a few days ago, the upper chamber said it was closing in on heads of agencies of government who have been indicted in an audit report by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation and are currently being interrogated by the Committee on Public Accounts.

The upper chamber expressed regrets at the level of recalcitrance by some heads of agencies of government in making themselves available to defend alleged financial impropriety, saying some of them hide under the guise of being part of the executive arm to shy away from the Senate scrutiny.

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