Uche Usim, Abuja
BudgIT, a Nigerian civil advocacy and accountability organisation has made startling revelations on how over 5,000 payments, without sufficient descriptions, totalling N278 billion of government money and another 2,900 payment records totalling N51 billion were paid into various personal accounts.
The organization, which said it made
other disturbing discrepancies, noted that the payments were made using phoney programmes and bland descriptions.
It also detected several records with vague descriptions on the Open Treasury Portal launched on December 9, 2019 by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed to provide Illumination on how government’s funds are generated and spent across various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
BudgIT made the disclosure in a statement posted on its official Twitter page.
It said: “Between January and July 2019, we discovered that large sums were paid into personal accounts; including several records with vague descriptions. Over 2,900 payment to individuals were recorded at an aggregate value of N51 billion.”
“A few examples include N2.04 billion, N2.04 billion and N1 billion paid into personal accounts on the 21st of June 2019 without any payment description along with another N68 million payment for “Ogunsuyi” and N15.8 million for “international” on other dates.
“In the same 2019, we also discovered payment records without description or beneficiary information. At least 5,000 payment records valued at N278 billion were without descriptions and 275 payment records with a value of N43 billion were without a beneficiary name. These inconspicuous payments cannot be assessed or traced by citizens and interested parties, thereby defeating the purpose of the platform to foster transparency.”
In its recommendation, BudgIT urged the Federal Government to immediately investigate the payments, even as it called for the standardization of the portal to enable it live up to expectations.
“BudgIT, therefore calls on the government to promptly rectify these highlighted fault lines of the portal. We also call for standardization of the portal such that it will impossible to input incomplete vague information. it is also important to investigate payments into personal accounts on the portal as this largely undermines the objective of creating the portal”, BudgIT added.