Representatives accuse and reprimand MDAs for embezzling appropriate money –
The House of Representatives on Thursday reprimanded government agencies for abusing 2021 appropriation laws and diverting money to other projects.
This followed the passing of a motion on an issue of urgent national importance, labeled: “Continued abuse and disregard of the Appropriations Act 2021, by government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).”
The motion was sponsored by Representative Ndudi Elumelu, House Minority Leader, during the plenary session in Abuja on Thursday.
Reacting to the motion, Representative Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said that embezzling money intended for other projects “is a crime”.
Gbajabiamila said the motion was a serious allegation and amounted to embezzlement of public funds, while urging Elumelu to name these agencies.
“I think if you disclose such agencies it is important to name them and humiliate them because if it is true then it is a criminal matter; if you embezzle government money earmarked for a purpose, then it is economic sabotage, ”he said.
Meanwhile, Elumelu in his motion noted that government agencies are the channels responsible for implementing government policies.
He further noted that Articles 80 to 84 of the 1999 Constitution as amended confer on parliament the power of appropriation as well as its oversight responsibilities over the national budget.
He said article 80 (4) of the constitution stipulated that no money should be withdrawn from the revenue consolidation fund or any other public fund of the federation except as prescribed by the National Assembly.
He said that meeting constitutional requirements for spending public funds would ensure effective and efficient management of public resources.
He said it would also put the country’s wealth and resources at the service of the common good of all Nigerians.
He said between 40% and 60% of funds had been released for the purposes of implementing the 2021 finance law, but most government agencies had not yet distributed the funds for their intended purposes.
He said government agencies have engaged in financial embezzlement by misappropriating these funds for other unrelated purposes.
He added that they frustrated the government’s macroeconomic framework, while others adamantly refused not to receive such releases.
He said such alleged practices outright violated the letters and requirements of Articles 80 to 84 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and frustrated the implementation of government policies.
He said if such alleged corrupt practices were not checked, President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption would be discredited in the eyes of Nigerians and the international community.
The House therefore tasked all standing committees to thoroughly investigate the agencies they oversee and identify shortcomings, if any.
The Chamber also mandated the finance and credit committees to liaise with the Ministry of Finance for the purpose of verifying the releases made to government agencies in accordance with the 2021 finance law.
The House further stated that all standing committees should conclude them within two weeks and report back to the House for further legislation.