N’Assembly Faults SERAP’s Petition on Missing N4.4bn Funds

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Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja

The two chambers of the National Assembly yesterday, faulted the petition by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), seeking probe of N4.4 billion of public money budgeted for the National Assembly, which was reported missing, diverted or stolen as documented in three audited reports by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.

SERAP had in a letter addressed to the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, urged them to probe the missing funds and refer the allegations to appropriate anti-corruption agencies.

The Auditor-General of the Federation had in his 2015 report noted that in the National Assembly account N8,800,000.00 was spent as unauthorised overdraft, contrary to Financial Regulations 710.

However, speaking to THISDAY, the Senate Spokesman, Senator Ajibola Basiru, stressed that the petition was allegedly about 2015 and 2017 audit reports of the 8th Assembly and not the present 9th Assembly, which commenced in June 2019.

Basiru said the wordings of the petition is misleading, adding that such petitions should be sent to the proper channels which is the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Public Account if the real motive is to investigate the alleged corruption and not the usual publicity stunt of the organisation.

‘’An important clarification should be made that the petition is allegedly about 2015 and 2017 reports audit reports of the 8th Assembly and not the present 9th Assembly which commenced in June 2019. This clarification is important as the wordings of the petition is capable of misleading that it is about the present Assembly and any misfeasance by the current Assembly and its leadership. Far from it!

‘’The proper channels to send such petition to is the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on public account if the real motive is to investigate the alleged corruption and not the usual publicity stunt of the organisation. The relevant committees of the two chambers will address a proper petition as always.’’

Also, the House Spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, said the reports are dated 2015 prior to the 9th Assembly and the committee in charge of public accounts will look into it.