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SERAP seeks probe of N116m petroleum ministry expenses on pens, others

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, to use their leadership positions urgently to probe N116 million spent by the ministry of petroleum to purchase biros, letterhead, and toners in 2015, and amount spent on the same items between 2016 and 2020.

The group also added that the matter should also be referred to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for prosecution if it was established that there was evidence of misuse of public funds after the conclusion of investigations.

SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said that since the allegation contravenes the Public Procurement Act 2017, there was need for a thorough investigation, which he claimed, would augment moves to end bureaucracies in all government parastatals.

Through a letter dated 12 December 2020 and signed by Oluwadare, the organization said that going forward, such would ensure that Nigeria’s resources are used effectively and efficiently and in a manner consistent with the public interest.

According to him, an effective and efficient ministry ought to keep careful track of how it spends public money, and put in place a system to eliminate corruption, mismanagement, unnecessary, inefficient, or unreasonable expenditures.

“SERAP is concerned that the allegations by the Office of the Auditor-General raises serious violations of anti-corruption legislation, the Nigerian Constitution, and international anti-corruption standards.

“Public officials and MDAs should act and take decisions on the spending of public funds in an open, transparent, and accountable manner, and submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this. A democratic government accountable to the people must be as transparent as possible and must not withhold information for self-serving reasons or simply to avoid embarrassment.

“We would therefore be grateful if you would indicate the measures being taken to probe the spending of N116m on biros, letterhead, and toners in 2015, and disclose the total amount spent on the same items between 2016 and 2020 within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter.

“If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps being taken in this direction, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your Ministry to implement these recommendations in the interest of transparency and accountability.”

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