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House of Reps begins investigation into missing N521bn, $21bn from ministries, MDAs

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The House of Representatives has begun an investigation into missing sums of N526 billion and $21 billion in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

In a motion titled ‘Need to Investigate the Report of the Auditor General for the Federation on the Accounting and Financial Infractions of Government and International Organisations,’ by Abdullahi Abdulkadir, it was revealed that the funds went missing due to leakages, mostly between 2015 and 2017.

Abdulkadir, the vice chairman of the House Committee on Public Account, pointed out that the auditor general’s office raised queries “particularly covering 2015 to 2017 as regards losses of income due to leakages, financial misapplication, misappropriation, under-reporting, and falsification and which was corroborated by the forensic audit report by KPMG that indicted some federal government agencies for losses of up to N526 billion and $21 billion.”

The lawmaker alleged that individuals in public and private sectors looted the funds through “deceitful and irregular accounting practices.”

He noted, “The losses were allegedly occasioned by an interplay of activities of persons both in the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy, including multinational companies and the continued exploitation of Nigeria’s economy through the deployment of deceitful and irregular accounting practices are resulting in huge capital flight, deficit balances, and a weakened economy.”

Adulkadir, while citing the legislature’s power to investigate such matters, pointed out that there might be a collapse in the economy if the government did not take steps to address the issue.

He said, “Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) confer on the legislature power to investigate with the aim of exposing corruption, inefficiency, and blocking waste in the administration of public funds.

“If urgent steps are not taken to address those hydra-headed issues, they may lead to a total collapse of the economy with its attendant social and political crisis.”

Without a debate, the House mandated that “the Committee on Public Accounts to investigate the allegations and report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.”

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