The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has described the indictment of several Federal Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAS) of financial mismanagement in the 2016 Auditor-General’s Annual Report as depressing and an embarrassment unworthy of public consumption.
HEDA’s Executive Director, Olanrewaju Suraju made this known while reacting to a petition the organization sent to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking a probe of N92billion allegedly misappropriated by Federal Government MDAs.
Speaking on PUBLIC CONSCIENCE on RADIO, the anti-corruption radio program produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, on Wednesday in Abuja, Suraju decried the role of some civil servants in the worsening corruption in Nigeria’s public sector, stressing that politicians nowadays can barely succeed with corrupt practices without the help of civil servants.
“This Auditor-General’s report is less of politicians but more of civil servants and this is where we have the greatest challenge in terms of dealing with corruption in public offices.
“The civil servants are almost worse than the politicians that we on daily basis criticize and quite a number of the civil servants are even richer than the politicians and it is almost an attestation to the fact that politicians can barely succeed with corrupt practices without the help of civil servants.
“Do an assessment of the lifestyles of quite a number of the civil servants and you would see that the majority are actually living above their legitimate earnings, it is a very huge gap between their legitimate earnings and the level of wealth that you trace with quite a number of the civil servants.”
Suraju also disclosed that HEDA’s aim is to encourage the general public to take interest in the Auditor-General’s Annual report, not just at the federal level but down to the states and local government, adding that HEDA was already looking forward to getting the media, civil society organizations, and citizens involved in beaming the searchlight on audit reports of states and local governments.
“I think this is an opportunity for everybody to not only focus on what is happening at the national level but also at the state and local government level, and stakeholders must be able to support the process and to ensure that the good things that are happening in government are sustained,” Suraju said.
He noted that the challenge with the Auditor-General’s report is that the law only mandates that annual audit reports be sent to the National Assembly and passed on to the Public Accounts Committee before it gets to the public domain.
On his part, a Tax Consultant, Taslim Anibaba lauded HEDA’s efforts in seeing that MDAs and public servants that misappropriated public funds are penalized while describing the laissez-faire attitude of anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria in the fight against corruption as a tragedy.
Anibaba also lamented that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has not done enough to curb corruption ravaging the public sector and advocated that systemic change will help reduce corruption.
He, however, commended the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation for publishing the annual report but noted that the office is not equipped to tackle corruption is exposed.
“It is a norm now for corruption to happen in Nigeria which is bad. The point is that the government has to be honest in curtailing corruption, they are not honest right now, they are not pursuing that goal.
On reducing corruption, he had these to say: “What about the system, which is allowing corruption to happen? What are the kind of procedures in place, what are the kind of standards that are in those places, who are the kind of people that are heading government offices, and what is their capacity,” Anibaba questioned?
Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program is supported by the MacArthur Foundation.