More than $15bn defence money missing in Nigeria ~ Osinbajo
There may be no early end to disclosures over budgeted money developing wings in Nigeria, as more revelations have emerged on how billions of dollars have missed , this time it’s from the Defence section. Read more:
Not less than $15 billion, meant for defence in Nigeria, had been discovered missing with no sign of possible recovery of looted funds starring the country on the face.
Akso, the government is not forth coming with any detail over the period that the missing defence funds is supposed to have covered.
At the 5th Annual Christopher Kolade Lecture on Business Integrity in Lagos on Thursday night, the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo disclosed effort for stolen funds be recovered had remained very costly with no guarantee of success, but stating that effort to prevent corruption was being intensified in Nigeria.
Hear Osinbajo: “In our investigation into defence spending, for example, which has taken a considerable period of time; we discovered something in the region of $15 billion in spending that cannot be accounted for.
“To put it in context, our entire budget for 2017 is approximately $24 billion. So $15 billion that is unaccounted for, with no guarantee that we would ever be able to recover everything, is the order of the kind of damage that have been done through corrupt actions.
” We have to engage consultants, experts have to be hired. And even then, we would only have some hope that perhaps we would be able to recover some of what has been lost. In many cases, where the funds are abroad, the process of repatriation is slow and sometimes, there could be account of sovereign reluctance to return the money,” he stated.
Reiterating the need to sustainbthe anti graft policy of the government, he enumerated some mearsures already put in place by thec government to arrest the tenfrbcy to take to corrupt to include the implementation of the Treasury Savings Account (TSA) and Bank Verification Number (BVN).
According to the acting President, “As we are making every effort to recover monies illegally taken through corrupt means, we are equally taking steps to prevent acts of corruption. We have demonstrated that we are committed to making it harder than ever for government money to be stolen or diverted.
“Earlier on in the administration, August 2015, President Buhari issued an order mandating immediate compliance by ministries and agencies to the Treasury Savings Account (TSA) system.
“This simplified government accounting by ensuring that there is a central system of lead account that gives a clear picture of what is coming in and what is going out.
“Prior to TSA, government agencies maintained several accounts across multiple commercial banks.”
He confirmed that since the commencement of TSA, more than 20,000 bank accounts, where illegally acquired public funds were starched had been closed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Osinbajo acknowledged though that the TSA policy did not originate with Buhari’s administration, adding that the system was implemented on finding out that if someting is not done in time, bureaucracy could have hut against it.
“Another example worth highlighting is what we’ve done with the Bank Verification Number (BVN). Like the TSA, this, predated our administration.
“Where we’ve made a difference is in demonstrating the political will to magnify its application by ensuring its application to the federal payroll, we have been able to uncover up to 60,000 cases of ghost workers,” Osinbajo stated.