Finance ministry dodges FOI request
The Federal Ministry of Finance has dodged a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request sent to it by Daily Trust.
This newspaper wrote a request to the ministry seeking for information on federal fund allocations for certain months but it refused to give out, even though the ministry publishes similar information in newspapers as advertorials.
In a letter dated March 10, 2014, Daily Trust requested from the finance ministry records of the monthly revenue allocation to the three tiers of government for some specific months.
But the ministry dodged and referred the newspaper to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, which also declined to give the information, saying it was available online.
But Daily Trust could not find information for these months online.
The finance ministry has been publishing the monthly Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) revenue allocation records in newspapers.
Daily Trust requested the FAAC monthly allocations details for the months of August, September and November in 2013 and January 2014 which are not available on the website of the ministry.
But in its reply signed by its director of press, Mr. A.I. Okorafor, on behalf of Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela, the ministry said: “Please be informed that the Accountant General of the Federation is the custodian of all records relating to revenue allocation to the three tiers of government by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).
“You may therefore channel your request to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) which is the appropriate agency that could supply the required information.”
In line with the finance ministry’s suggestion, another FOI request letter was written to the accountant-general’s office on March 10, 2014 requesting for the same information.
The accountant general’s office also dodged this request. In its reply, dated March 19 and signed by its director of funds, M. K. Dikwa, the accountantgeneral’s office said: “I refer to your letter of 10th March, 2014 and wish to inform you that the information you are requesting for is available on our website which is www.oagf.gov.ng for your further action.”
When our reporter logged onto the website the information requested was not there.
“No FAAC report associated with this month & year” was the result given whenever queries asking for these specific months were entered into the website search box.
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