the Socio-economic Rights and Responsibility Project (SERAP) urged Senate Speaker Ahmad Lawan and House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila to “promptly investigate and refer to the appropriate anti-corruption agencies for new allegations that N10 billion of public money is budgeted for the National Assembly are missing, hijacked or hijacked ”.

SERAP said: “The grim allegations that N10,051,283,568.82 in public funds are lacking are documented in the 2019 audited report of the Federation’s Auditor General.”

In the letter dated December 11, 2021 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: to the highest standards of integrity in the management of public funds.

SERAP said: “There is little the National Assembly can do in the fight against corruption if leaders and members do not first face the specter of alleged corruption and mismanagement within their ranks. “

SERAP also urges Mr. Lawan and Mr. Gbajabiamila: to “identify lawmakers and staff members suspected of being involved, and turn them over to the appropriate anti-corruption agencies for prosecution, if there are any sufficient admissible evidence, and to ensure the full recovery of any missing public funds.

The letter read in part: “As part of its legislative and oversight functions, the National Assembly has a key role to play in the fight against corruption in the country. But the National Assembly can only effectively fulfill its anti-corruption role if it can demonstrate exemplary leadership in investigating allegations of corruption and mismanagement involving the legislature.

“According to the Auditor General’s report for 2019, the House of Representatives paid N 2,550,000,000.00 to members for running costs between July and December 2019, but did not report the money. unlike paragraph 1011 (i) of the Financial Regulations. There was no evidence to show what the funds were used for, and no documentation to support the expenses. “

“The Auditor General is concerned that the money has been ’embezzled’. He wants the money recovered.”

“The House of Representatives would also have paid 258,000,000 N in the form of cash advances to 59 agents between February and December 2019, but did not report the money. The agents received the money despite ignoring previous cash advances. “

“The House of Representatives also reportedly paid N 107,912,962.45 in repair and maintenance allowance for unspecified residential areas, but did not account for the money. The money spent also exceeded the cash advance threshold of N 200,000.00 as stipulated by the Financial Regulations.

“These New Allegations Are Fundamental Violations of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution [as amended] and the country’s international obligations, including under the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.

“SERAP fears that allegations of corruption continue to undermine economic development, violate social justice and destroy confidence in economic, social and political institutions. Nigerians bear the heavy economic and social costs of corruption. The National Assembly therefore has the responsibility of containing it.

“Ensuring an effective investigation into these new allegations and the full recovery of all missing public funds would strengthen the country’s accountability framework and show that the National Assembly can fulfill its constitutional responsibility to amplify Nigerians’ voices and take action. in the best interests of the people. “

“We would be grateful if you could indicate the steps taken to address the allegations and implement the proposed recommendations, within 14 days of receipt and / or publication of this letter.”

“If we have not heard from you by then on the measures taken in this direction, SERAP will take all appropriate legal measures to oblige the leaders of the National Assembly to implement these recommendations in the interest of public and promote transparency and accountability. in the National Assembly.

“The House of Representatives would also have collected 1,594,807,097.83 N for PAYE loans, automobiles and housing from 17 members between February and December 2019, but did not present a payment receipt to the competent tax authorities. The Auditor General wants the money to be clawed back.

TEXEM

“The House of Representatives would also have paid IN 1,010,598,610.97 from the salary account, but without any document to prove for the payment, contrary to paragraph 601 of the financial regulations. The Auditor General wants the money to be clawed back.

“The Senate reportedly collected N 219,645,597.08 in home loans out of the salary arrears of 107 senators between July and December 2019, but did not disburse the money.”

“The Senate also reportedly recovered N 123,320,916.72 in auto loans to senators between July and December 2019, but there is no evidence that the money was returned to the Treasury. The Auditor General wants the money to be collected and returned.

“The Senate reportedly collected N 176,267,255.31 as PAYE on staff salaries, but there is no evidence that the money was turned over to the relevant tax authorities, contrary to paragraph 235 of the Financial Regulations. The Auditor General wants the money to be collected and returned.

“The Senate also reportedly collected N 277,411,116.29 in value added tax (VAT) and withholding tax (WHT), but did not return the money to the relevant tax authorities. The Auditor General wants the money to be collected and returned.

“The Senate reportedly paid N 1,718,130,630.24 for the supply of vehicles and other office equipment between February and December 2019, but did not report the money, contrary to paragraph 110 of the Financial Regulations. The Auditor General is concerned that the money has been misappropriated.

“The Senate also reportedly paid 657,757,969.05 N for the supply of motor vehicles, motorcycles and other office equipment between July and December 2019, but did not present any documents for payment, contrary to paragraph 1705 of the Financial Regulations. The Auditor General wants the money to be clawed back.

“The Senate would also have paid 423,370,000 N for the supply of utility vehicles and the production of the logo of the National Assembly between August and November 2019, but without any document. The Auditor General wants the money to be clawed back.

“The National Assembly Service Commission reportedly paid N 31,927,760 as cash advances to 59 staff members, but did not account for the money. The Auditor General wants the money to be clawed back.

“The National Assembly Service Commission also reportedly collected N 276,749,014.68 as stamp duty from contractors and service providers, but did not remit the money to the relevant tax authorities.”

“According to the Auditor General’s report for 2018, the Nigerian Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies deducted N 577,634,638.20 in taxes but did not remit the money to the relevant tax authorities. The Auditor General wants the money to be collected and returned.

“The Nigerian Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies also reportedly spent N 47,750,000.00 to purchase a residential building without due process, and contrary to section 27 (1) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and Financial Regulation 301. “

“SERAP notes that the Auditor General in the 2015, 2017 and 2018 reports documented that more than 8 billion naira of public money budgeted for the National Assembly is missing, misappropriated or misappropriated.

The letter was sent in copy to Abukabar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman of the Independent Commission on Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses (ICPC); Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); and chairmen of the National Assembly’s public accounts committees.

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