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Authority stealing again under Buhari

“65 agencies have never submitted accounts for audit” – AuGF.

President Buhari

By Dele Sobowale

According to the report in one of the national papers, “The Auditor-General for the Federation, AuGF, Mr Anthony Ayine, has said that a total of 65 agencies of [Buhari’s] government never submitted their financial statements for audit purposes in line with the provisions of Financial Regulations 321.”

For those who might not understand the meaning of what that report means, let me put it in plain language even before more of the report is brought into this article.  Federal public servants have been behaving with impunity. Massive corruption has shifted under Buhari to the MDAs while the President and his political party go around pointing accusing fingers at others. A few more excerpts from that report should educate and alarm fellow Nigerians that we have in office a Chief Executive of Nigeria Plc who is allowing public servants – Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Director Generals, Managing Directors etc – to do as they like. Some of them are actually lodged inside Aso Rock itself.

“The report stated 323 agencies defaulted in 2016, while 2015 and 2014 had 215 and 148 defaulters.” So, under Jonathan in 2014, stealing with impunity occurred in only 148 agencies of the Federal Government. The figure climbed to 215 in 2015 and skyrocketed to 323 in 2016 under President Buhari. That is change; but certainly not the change Nigerians were promised. What we are experiencing under this government is a total breakdown of financial controls and licence to steal with impunity by public officials.

Furthermore, according to the report, which should make Nigeria’s Presidents since 1999 – including self-righteous Obasanjo – hang these heads in shame – “as of April 2018, 109 agencies had not submitted beyond 2013; 76 agencies last submitted for the 2010 financial year, while 65 agencies have never submitted any account since inception.”

As if that is not bad enough, the Auditor-Generals report indicts the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, who if that report is accurate, appears to be in collusion with the MDAs.

“Fish rots from the head.” Geoffrey Chaucer, 1342-1400.

With regard to the rules governing the submission of audited accounts, the rot in the FG fish flows downwards from two heads – the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Instead of submitting their own audited accounts as requested five months after the end of the immediate past financial year, Buhari and Osinbajo are setting the bad example of disobeying the rules and regulations governing financial transactions. As we all know, it is a truism that a leader who preaches good sermons but shows bad example builds with one hand and destroys with the other. It should not come as a surprise that every Minister, Departmental and Agency head is now thumbing their noses at the financial rules without punitive sanctions. EFCC is blind to the larceny.

“An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882.

The obvious question that comes to mind is: why are they doing this? The short answer is corrupt self-enrichment. The long answer can be found by looking closely at what is happening under “My brother” – Vice President Osinbajo. As everybody knows, the VP has tucked under his portfolio, the Social Intervention (aka Social Welfare Programme, Social Intervention Programme – human waste by any name will smell just as foul)). In 2016, N500bn was budgeted for SIP but only about N110bn was released for a motley set of ill-conceived programmes and projects. In 2017, N500bn was again allocated in the FG budget for the same purpose. Less than N100bn was released last year. No audited account has been submitted for two years by the Director General of SIP, Mrs Maryam Uwais, wife of a former Chief Justice of Nigeria – who should be expected to know a thing or two about the rule of law. That is the first count against Professor, SAN, Pastor Osinbajo.

More damning is the likely reason why no audited accounts have been submitted. That again can be summarized under the word “Ghosts”. The SIP is host to probably the largest number of ghosts and parasites inhabiting the Federal Government establishment under Buhari.

I wrote PDP: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED mostly with my own funds. But, if I ever have the funds to write APC: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED, it will start and end with SIP.

The ghosts of SIP include ghost schools, ghost school children being fed, ghost teachers employed and ghosts receiving N5000 per month from the FG. Just in case the reader thinks this is just my opinion, let me provide some evidence. First Mrs Uwais had confessed to a National Assembly Committee that it was difficult if not impossible to locate the recipients, or ghosts, collecting the monthly handout. Second, Senator Danjuma Goje, Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, had also voiced out loud his inability to locate any recipient of the money in his area.

Third, since the commencement of the programme, as the nation’s leading “walk-about” media person, I have been privileged to visit 28 states including sixteen said to be covered by SIP. I have not been able to locate a teacher employed despite VP Osinbajo’s promise in December 2016 that 150,000 would be engaged. Only a few schools providing free food and mostly in urban area. Kids in rural areas who are often the poorest and most in need of free and nutritious food are seldom served. And, seldom is the food provided everyday as advertised by the VP’s official spokesman, also “My brother” – who must have gone to school under Joseph Goebbels, 1897-1945, Hitler’s Chief of propaganda. On more than a dozen occasions the VP’s office had been challenged to provide the proof of the performance claimed without a reply. I don’t expect a response now.

At the moment, the VP, as Chairman of the Economic Management Team, is like the Senior Prefect in a secondary who routinely breaks the rules and regulations of the institution. How on earth can he enforce the rules? The heads of the MDAs are aware that they have a bird of the same feathers in the VP. So there is no fear of punitive sanctions.

As for Ogapatapata, to say that he knows very little about Public Financial Management is to be polite. So, permit me to be polite. But, the parasites in the Presidency know they have a leader who does not give a damn if they steal everything that is not bolted down – and perhaps even those. So nobody accounts for anything. Who asks them?

Consequently, it is quite possible that more money is being stolen under Buhari in the Executive branch than anywhere else in the country and those who had made a career out of blaming the NASS might be well advised to turn their gaze to the place where a whale of corruption takes place instead of being “hunters of cockroaches and lizards”.

Finally, one place they should look at very hard is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which is directly under the Minister of Petroleum Resources. Now, if you don’t know who that is, please turn the page….

 

 

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