FG probes al­leged con­tract in­fla­tion, as­set di­ver­sion in 28 MDAS

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing 28 of its Min­istries, Depart­ments and Agen­cies over al­le­ga­tions of con­tract in­fla­tion and con­ver­sion of gov­ern­ment as­sets to per­sonal use.

The probe is cur­rently be­ing done by the in­ves­tiga­tive sec­tion of the whis­tle-blower unit.

The Di­rec­tor, Spe­cial Projects, Min­istry of Fi­nance, Mo­hammed Dikwa, con­firmed these in a pre­sen­ta­tion at an eval­u­a­tion work­shop on the whis­tle-blower pol­icy and as­set trac­ing team or­gan­ised by the Pres­i­den­tial Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee Against Cor­rup­tion.

The pur­pose of the work­shop was to ini­ti­ate a dis­cus­sion on how to im­prove the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pol­icy in accordance with global best prac­tices.

In the pre­sen­ta­tion, a copy of which was made avail­able to our cor­re­spon­dent on Mon­day, Dikwa said that 791 in­ves­ti­ga­tions were be­ing car­ried out by the whistle­blower unit.

Giv­ing an anal­y­sis of the 791 cases, he said the unit was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pay­ment of un­ap­proved funds in 27 MDAS, while al­le­ga­tion of di­ver­sion of ex­cess crude oil funds was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated in five MDAS.

he stated that one agency of gov­ern­ment was under in­ves­ti­ga­tion for im­proper re­duc­tion of fi­nan­cial penal­ties.

Other in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­ing con­ducted are non-re­mit­tance of pen­sion and Na­tional hous­ing Fund de­duc­tions (102 cases com­pleted, 35 on­go­ing); fail­ure to im­ple­ment projects for which funds had been pro­vided; and em­bez­zle­ment of funds meant for pay­ment of per­son­nel emol­u­ments (113 cases com­pleted, 35 on­go­ing).

Dikwa also said the unit was in­ves­ti­gat­ing 137 cases of non­pro­cure­ment of equip­ment re­quired for avi­a­tion safety.

Out of these, he noted that 102 had been com­pleted, while the re­main­ing 35 cases were still be­ing probed.

In the same vein, 87 cases of fi­nan­cial mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion are be­ing probed, out of which 76 have been com­pleted, while 11 cases are pend­ing.

he added that con­ceal­ment of bailout funds was also be­ing in­ves­ti­gated in four states, while the probe of 33 cases of il­le­gal re­cruit­ments had been con­cluded.

The di­rec­tor noted that vi­o­la­tion of the Pro­cure­ment Act was an­other is­sue be­ing in­ves­ti­gated in gov­ern­ment agen­cies, adding that 32 of such cases had been con­cluded, while four were still on­go­ing.

Dikwa, who is also the Sec­re­tary, Pres­i­den­tial Ini­tia­tive on Con­tin­u­ous Au­dit, stated, “The ob­jec­tives of the whis­tle-blower pol­icy is to in­crease ex­po­sure of fi­nan­cial or re­lated crimes, sup­port the fight against fi­nan­cial crimes and cor­rup­tion.

“From in­cep­tion to date, the whis­tle-blower pol­icy has re­ceived sev­eral com­mu­ni­ca­tions, both clas­si­fied and un­clas­si­fied tips. Clas­si­fied tips are those in­volv­ing po­lit­i­cally-ex­posed per­sons and re­quire im­me­di­ate ac­tion. These are promptly for­warded to the rel­e­vant agen­cies for nec­es­sary ac­tion.

“Un­clas­si­fied tips are in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing non-com­pli­ance or vi­o­la­tion of ex­tant rules and reg­u­la­tions. These are in­ves­ti­gated by the in­ves­tiga­tive sec­tion of the whis­tle-blower unit.”

He iden­ti­fied lack of frame­work, in­ad­e­quate ar­range­ment for the pro­tec­tion of whis­tle-blow­ers and lack of ad­e­quate source of fund­ing whis­tle-blow­ers ac­tiv­i­ties as some of the chal­lenges fac­ing the ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pol­icy.

Oth­ers are in­ad­e­quate train­ing; bot­tle­necks in in­ves­ti­ga­tion due to in­ter-agency bu­reau­cra­cies; and lack of ad­e­quate aware­ness by the gen­eral pub­lic about the pol­icy.

• Buhari

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