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Lawan berates Nigerian banks for aiding sustained corruption in civil service

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Lawan berates Nigerian banks for aiding sustained corruption in civil service

By Sunday Joseph


The President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan has taken a swipe at Nigerian Banks for aiding and abetting corruption through shady deals they engage with civil servants to open multiple unauthorised bank accounts for Government agencies.

Lawan Spoke yesterday when the leadership of the chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria led by its protem National President Dr. Victoria Aishatu Enape paid him a courtesy visit.

The Senate President challenged the anti graft agencies like EFCC to also turn their search lights on the banks to stop such graft in the private sector.

“It is not only in government agencies that we have this kind of attitude, even in private organizations. “So our anti-corruption agencies should go beyond looking at what the government agencies are doing, they should also look at what our banks are doing. “Some of these banks, I don’t have figures or names, a lot of times we have placed implicit trust in them but money are diverted and accounts that have no approval of the Accountant General to be opened will be operated.” Continuing he said before the introduction of TSA, they were told stories of hundreds of bank accounts operated by some agencies. “But of course we know the limit the Accountant-General of the Federation has approved for agencies of government to operate.” He recalled the experience of the National Assembly recently that has shown that the revenue generating agencies of government, collect revenues but not all the revenues are remitted to the appropriate account of government.  “We believe that we can do better if we deploy technology in the collection and transmission of the revenues. “That is why the Federal Inland Revenue Service has received complete support from the National Assembly to become more digital in the area of collection of revenues so that we limit leakages and embezzlement that some officers would try to engage in. 
“It is a very reasonable route, as it is consistent with the new age of technology, where devices are replacing humans in social, economic, or business relations. “We have been on the path of increasing the use of technology, but we still have to do more.”According to him, the malaise of corruption is deep-seated, needing concerted efforts to tame, and so efforts at Nation building should be continuous with all hands being on deck to achieve this success. “I therefore commend the front from which you are operating, and I encourage you not to relent.”Again Lawan said it is not only the quantum of money, resources or revenues that a country has that can make it perform in a area of infrastructural development. “It is how efficient, economic, prudent and how effective you are able to deploy those resources. We once had a lot of  resources in this country and yet the bulk of it went into private pockets and therefore we could achieve very little. “Today we have little and can achieve much because genuine fear has gripped everyone that if you embezzle or steal,  the law will catch up with you. Our Chairman of the anti-corruption Committee is here, what is the slogan of the EFCC? ‘Wherever you are we will get you’. “So there is that fear and therefore those who try to take advantage of the system are much more careful even those you can still find those who can say no matter what let me try. “Of course, that will always be at the back of the mind of every one. So we are using the resources much more effectively than when we had more. “I believe that if we can have more revenues, we can achieve more. It is practical because the (Bill) seeks to provide skills to relevant professionals on the use of science and technology to prevent, detect and investigate corruption. “It also envisages mechanisms against re-occurrence. I used the word prevent first before detect and investigate. Whenever and wherever we want to fight corruption, we must ensure that we emphasise on prevention because corruption has been in existence maybe as old as when human beings  started to live on earth.”He indicated that people will always try to take advantage of the system adding that the important thing is the emphasis on how to prevent it and make it difficult for Civil Servants especially.”I am sorry to say that, those who are entrusted with public funds to have an undue access and opportunity to divert public funds. “We have to prevent it because some believe that if they try they can get away with it and the best way to deal with this is to make it difficult and where possible impossible to access public funds for personal use. “This anti-corruption framework can enhance the prosecution and sanctioning process. We have emphasized prevention as a good route to reducing corruption, given the tendency of individuals to exploit weaknesses in systems. People are more likely to take advantage of loopholes than they can create it.”Technologies are additionally expected to reduce loopholes, because of their sophistication, the skills required, and for the fact that they are structured. Effective usage also requires time to establish.  “Using technologies therefore limits, or prevents the chances of infractions, and eventually saves prosecutorial time and resources.” According to him, many countries have reduced corruption through science and technology for their ability to limit human interaction and then ensure that operations are strictly procedural. He thanked the institute for the conferment of the role of patron and congratulated them for their doggedness and patience, which is the hallmark of accounting.
Lawan advised all groups to ensure that public and private funds are properly accounted for.
He warned civil servants who are interested in public funds in order to divert it that the law will catch up with them.
The institute had earlier inducted the Senate President as its patron.The protem president Dr. Mrs aishatu Enape in her speech had reminded Lawan that he initiated the bill as senate leader during the eight senate adding that it was passed but did not get the presidential assent.Dr. Enape counted it a privilege to associate with the Senate president considering his outstanding public record, unblemished anti corruption credentials in the national Assembly.
The leadership of the institute expressed gratitude to the president of the Senate for accepting the path of fighting corruption and cybercrime in Nigeria.

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Legislature

Senate panel orders Perm sec to Produce 55 missing vehicles from Environment ministry

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Senate panel orders Perm sec to Produce 55 missing vehicles from Environment ministry

By Joseph Sunday

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts thursday gave marching orders to the new permanent secretary of the Federal ministry of Environment Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan to produce 55 official vehicles that were not properly accounted for in 2018.

The Committee had queried the Ministry of Environment over the alleged missing 55 vehicles.

The Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide relied on the 2018 Auditor General’s Report.

The query reads, ” Audit observed that 55 vehicles were not presented for physical inspection, all efforts to inspect and confirm their existence proved abortive and the exact location of these vehicles could not be ascertained.

“We are aware that some officers take ministry vehicles away with them when going on transfer or retirement.

” The audit further observed that the motor vehicles Logbooks had not been updated, making it difficult to track the movement of these vehicles and track their record of maintenance. It is also noted that some official vehicles carry pdivate plate number and registered number.
Speaking after the hearing by the committee, chairmavehicles Committee  senator Mathew Orhoghide said as the accounting officer of the ministry he should make every effort to recover the 55 missing vehicles.
“The permanent secretary is required to make every effort to account for those vehicles not presented for audit.
He however appreciated the effort of the permanent secretary in trying to extricate the ministry from the infraction.
“One of the things I must tell you is any decision we take here is for the sustainable development  of what the system should be.
“Ministry of environment is our own ministry, if somebody with the responsibility of permanent secretary did not do well it would be disservice to the nation for us to rationalise his actions.
“Let us assume that these vehicles have been taken away, it is our common asset. Permanent secretary should go and produce the vehicles, by the time the presidnt gets it the first time, we want to see really how serious the executive is.
“That is why we have to do things right, if we come and treat you with kids gloves because people have been taking vehicles away, do you want it to continue. No, 
“If you take our annual budget all MDAs purchase of vehicles is enough to create jobs for all the youths, the vehicle are bought every year and they are carted away, it is not you.”
So he said, they would not allow anybody to came and blindfold the committee.

The auditor general Aghughu Adolphus Arhotomhenla had querried the ministry’s Audit that indicated 55 vehicles were not presented for physical inspection.
He said all efforts to inspect them and confirm their existence proved abortive and the location of the vehicles could not be ascertained. “We are aware that some officers take these vehicles away when going on transfer or retirement.”
Explaining further he said, “We further observed that the motor vehicle log book has not been updated, making it difficult to track the movement of these vehicles and tack their record of maintenance.
“It is also noted that some official vehicles carry private plate numbers in place of Government registered number.
“The above anomalies are because of failure on the part of the management to ensure proper record keeping and due process in the ministry.”
The auditor general while justifying the querry quoted financial regulations 2005 which says, “The accounting officer shall be responsible in  ensuring that there are effective control in the use of Government vehicles, for this purpose, you will ensure that the following records are maintained.
“Vehicles control register, exposition, approval for journey register, vehicle log book, vehicle maintainable register.”
He said the essence is to prevent Government vehicles from being diverted for private use, unthorised journey that may be undertaken due to lack of adherence to the internal control system put in place.
In his recommendation he said,
“The permanent secretary should account for the 55vehicles not presented during audit. He should also be sanctioned in accordance with provisions of financial regulation 3129 of the Financial regulation which says, “any officer who violates any other provision for which no sanction is specifically recommended, shall be taken to have committed gross misconduct and shall be disciplined accordingly.”
“What you have presented as your evidence here is just schedule, anybody can type anything and affix, there is no document here that connect us with the vehicles.
“I am not accepting this as evidence. Some of the vehicles don’t have chasis number, it was 2018 and we are in 2021 those vehicles still don’t have chasis number, it is not the issue of locating but that those vehicle probably must have been carried away by officers.”
In his response, the new permanent secretary said the anomaly did not happen under his watch however, he said the vehicles were not prsented to the auditor General at the time the ministry was issued the querry because the list, the register and other documents concerning the vehicles were not available circumstantially to aid the auditors verification. “Presently the list of the vehicles are available for the auditors sighting and verification.
“I want to take this opportunity to invite our esteemed auditor and maybe the committee to set up a sub-committee to come and verify and inspect these vehicles. The comprehensive list of the vehicles are attached on page 50 of our submission and they are available for sighting.
“These are records that can be updated, but the vehicles are there even in State offices they are there. What I am saying on oath is that the vehicles are available for inspection.”
“I can assure you the vehicles are available for verification and sighting, the missing details I will make sure we put them back and come back to the committee and put everything before them. “There is nothing to hide, we ar in an era of transparency and accountability and that is what the ministry is committed to doing at all times. I have given them my words on oath, we will come with all the information to present them before the committee.”

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Zamfara lawmakers pass vote of no confidence on Mungonu

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Zamfara lawmakers pass vote of no confidence on Mungonu

For the poor handling of security issues in
Zamfara State, the State House of Assembly has passed vote of no confidence on the national security adviser Major Gen(rtd) Babagana Mungonu.
The House also recommended that the State Government immediately setup committee to investigate those behind the effort to truncate ongoing peace and dialogue in the state irrespective of political leaning.
The lawmakers were speaking against the backdrop of the federal government no fly zone order imposed on the state and total ban on mining activities.
Other reason for their action at plenary on Wednesday they said is the nonchalant attitude and poor handling of protracted security challenges in  the state by the  national security Adviser.
The lawmakers also recommended that the federal government without further delay set up a high powered committee to investigate and review the security architecture of all the security agencies and the level of their intelligence network in the state.
They called on the state government to as a matter of urgency set up an investigative committee to probe people allegedly undermining the ongoing peace process in the state irrespective of their political affiliations.

The resolutions were sequel to a motion raised by the House leader Hon Faruk Musa Dosara under matters of urgent public importance at the resumed plenary wednesday.

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Nasarawa Assembly to probe exclusion of primary school teachers in payment voucher

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Nasarawa Assembly to probe exclusion of primary school teachers in payment voucher

From Daniel Abel, Mafia

The Nasarawa State House of Assembly, said it would summon the committee in charge of Primary School teachers screening exercise next week to investigate allegations by some teachers that their names were missing in the payment vouchers of their respective local government areas.

Hon Daniel Ogazi, the Chairman of the Committee made this known on Wednesday when he led other members of the committee on an assessment visit to ongoing construction and renovation of primary schools in Lafia, Obi and Doma Local Government Areas of the State respectively.

According to him, “We will invite the committee in charge of Primary School screening exercise next week in order to get to the bottom of the hues and cries by some primary school teachers that their names were missing in the payment vouchers”.

“We will do the needful after we hear from the committee. We will continue to stand for justice in the interest of peace and for the overall development of the education sector, ” he said.

Ogazi indicated that the inspection was aimed at ensuring that contractors adhere strictly to project specifications.

The lawmaker commended Gov. Abdullahi Sule for giving adequate attention to the education sector while assuring the state government of the assembly’s support to its policies and programmes.

The committee expressed concern over non commencement of work by some contractors in their various sites.

He also called on contractors, who are yet to complete their works to do so in their interest and for the overall development of the education sector.

“We call for speedy completion of all the ongoing works.

” We are out to ensure that the right things are done in the interest of our children and for the overall development of the education sector.

‘ We are out to ensure that we check deficiencies in projects execution in order to avoid wastage of government money, ” he said.

He urged communities across the state to take ownership of projects in their domains for the overall development of the education sector and the state at large.

Ogazi advised teachers to be disciplined in their duties for the overall development of the state.

The Committee Chairman also urged teachers to impart positive knowledge on the younger ones, adding that no society would achieve meaningful progress and development without quality education.

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