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Accountant-General refutes allegation of improper N173bn payments unrecorded

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The Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) on Sunday said it denied that it made N173bn payments without proper records.

A non-governmental organisation, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, had stated that the OAGF paid N173bn to ministries, departments and agencies improperly and that the Accountant-General of the Federation would face prosecution for this.

But the OAGF in a statement issued on Sunday by Director of Information, Press and Public Relation, Henshaw Ogubike, refuted the allegation.

“We wish to strongly refute this allegation and provide necessary clarification on the issue,” the OAGF said.

It noted that according to the report, the payments were analysed from the data obtainable from the Open Treasury Portal.

It further stated that the payments totalling 1,353 were made between January to April, 2020 to various ministries, parastatals, agencies and educational institutions.

The OAGF explained that the OTP, which was inaugurated on December 9, 2019, was specifically done to enhance transparency through the daily uploading of payments on the treasury portal of amounts in excess of N5m by MDAs.

It described the initiative as the highest degree of transparency which had ever been implemented in Nigeria.

It said, “This daily payment reports do indicate the beneficiary, purpose of payment and the amount by the respective MDAs.

“It is the responsibility of every MDA to give a very clear and unambiguous description to these payments which are in turn electronically consolidated and uploaded on the Open Treasury Portal.”

It said the payments being referred to by the NGO that had been uploaded on the platform had correct classifications in the appropriate accounting and expenditure subheads from which consolidated financial statements, at the end of the year, were audited by the Auditor-General for the Federation.

The OAGF said any observation on such transactions were always put together by the Auditor-General for the Federation and submitted to the Public Accounts’ Committee of the National Assembly.

The committee, in turn, called on the respective accounting officer of the MDAs to come and defend or respond to such issues and observations.

The OAGF said the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System currently in operation had clearly provided for sub-modules in which necessary descriptions relating to such expenditures were entered.

“It should also be emphasised that the Transparency Portal Policy inaugurated by Mr President on December 9, 2019 indicated that MDAs are responsible for every transaction and report uploaded to the portal,” the statement added.

It said the OTP also provided online, real-time interaction with the general public to give clarifications to issues emanating from the uploaded transactions, adding that Nigerians should disregard the allegation by HEDA.

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