THE report in Sunday Vanguard of December 24, 2017 about 60 per cent revenue loss to fraud in Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, should ring alarm bells in The Presidency, the National Assembly, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, the anti-graft agencies and the general populace, especially as no one has debunked it.
Citing the remarks of the Forensic Auditors under the aegis of Association of Forensic and Investigative Auditors, AFIA, the paper revealed that 60 per cent of revenue collected by the MDAs is lost to fraud – leaving only 40 per cent which is then remitted to the Federal treasury. This pervasive embezzlement of public funds by government officials means that we now run a federal civil service peopled by pilferers. The same might be the situation in the states. That is worrisome and shameful.
That such massive malfeasance still holds sway under a government that peddles an anti-graft agenda as part of its top three priorities, puts a big question mark on what the anti-graft agencies are actually pursuing. How can this assault on the revenue of the nation be happening unchecked under the watch of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC?
The economic implications of this outrage are terrifying. Because the nation had been unable to generate sufficient internal revenue, we have been forced to go borrowing every year since we exited the debt trap in 2004. This report implies that we have created a needless mountain of debt just because the Civil Service establishment has remained a den of robbers for a long time which no government has tackled.
Even the Treasury Single Account, TSA, being implemented by the current administration appears to be a colossal joke because when only forty per cent of possible revenue is remitted to the account, it does not reflect the complete picture of the amounts accruing to the federal treasury.
More shocking is the fact that most of these MDAs actually employ internal auditors. Instead of detecting and exposing these crimes, the internal auditors have obviously turned around to become accessories and collaborators.
We find it strange that our usually eagle-eyed National Assembly has not deemed it fit to investigate this scandal. Even the Governors’ Forum, which is a stakeholder in the Federation Account, has fallen asleep on this matter. This is a departure from the past when the NGF never kept quiet when allegations of tampering with the Federal purse were brought to public knowledge.
The Forensic Auditors have done a good job. It is the duty of the Federal Government and the state governors to look into this report and ensure that all thieving civil servants are flushed from the system and a more transparent and accountable regime instituted.