BudgIT, a civic advocacy organisation focused on budget and public finance issues, says the payment of public funds into personal accounts has declined by 94.75 percent.
Chinwe Umeh-Ujubuonu, BudgIT program manager; and Chinedu Bassey, program manager at Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), released a statement announcing this on Sunday.
The federal government, on December 9, 2019, launched the open treasury portal to increase transparency and accountability in government spending.
A transparency portal and quality assurance and compliance committee were set up in June 2020 to review and resolve issues associated with the platform.
In its statement, BudgIT said it noticed progress in fiscal accountability on the open treasury portal since the committee was set up.
“Since the committee’s intervention, payments without description have reduced by 50.98 percent from N794,954,335.07 in about 28 transactions in August 2020 to N389,718,618.47 with 24 transactions in January 2021,” the statement read.
“Likewise, payments to personal accounts which amounted to N2,962,536,395.77 with 190 occurrences in August 2020 rose by 98.40 percent to N5,877,687,578.87 with 336 occurrences in December 2020.
“However, these payments have reduced by 94.75 percent from December 2020 to N308,174,806.84 with 15 occurrences in January 2021.”
The organisation said a list of 44 transactions from 16 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) were handed over to Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) representative for further investigation in October 2020.
“Despite ICPC’s intervention, we observed some consistent trends emerging from the ministry of Niger Delta and humanitarian affairs with both having the largest share of defaulters in the last quarter of 2020,” it said.
Gabriel Okeowo, BudgIT’s principal lead, advised that a list of those sanctioned should be published to serve as a deterrent to other civil servants and public office holders.