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OPINION: Corruption is Deeply Rooted in the Nigerian System


BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The recent report of the Auditor General of the Federation confirms what we already know: corruption is an over-pampered and highly indulged Nigerian. Corruption runs through the Nigerian system and have a mind of its own, retains full control of things and hold on tightly to how things are done, what is done, how it is done and who does what. Corruption is a rude, creepy, nasty, selfish and crude Nigerian. Do not try to stand in the way of corruption or you will be mowed down and kicked to the curb. Corruption leaves out no sector in the Nigerian economy. Just look at those who are controlling most of the banks in Nigeria today if you think I am wrong. Mostly, the crooked and hugely corrupt tend to gain the upper hand in our banks and they easily get rid of the honest, which are often seen as stumbling blocks. The management of most current and recently closed cum collapsed banks tells the story – no need mentioning names here as these people are well known to us all, and many of them still parade themselves in the Nigerian social circles.

The corrupt men and women recognize their own kind, accept their own kind and bind together. They laugh at the majority of the people and live in opulence from wealth stolen from the majority. The situation is so bad these days that many of these criminals are doing their best to avoid the banks where their funds transfers and transactions can be easily traced. They now call around Europe and North America seeking foreign exchange and willing to buy US dollars for as high as N400 to a dollar if the seller can give the money to them in the US or Canada.

Can you get my friend $10, 000 in the US? He wants to pay his sons’ school fees and he is willing to go as high as N400 to a dollar, and he needs to change dollars regularly for other uses. He will pay the money into your bank account in Lagos and you will transfer the dollar into an account in New York for him.”

“$10, 000? Where do you expect me to get that kind of money?”

“Perhaps you know someone who needs money in Nigeria and wants to send that kind of money to Nigeria.”

“I doubt if I know anyone who has $10,000 he/she wants to send to Nigeria.”

“Anyway, please help us ask around.”

That was where the phone conversation between Lagos and North America ended. The Naira value of the $10, 000 the big man needed (at N400 to a dollar which he offered) is N4 million. The man added that he will also need thousands of dollars to pay rent for his boys in New York and New Jersey. The rent is about $8, 000 for each son, and this guy is a civil servant in Nigeria. A senior civil servant whose annual salary is less than $12, 000/year is maintaining two sons who are attending universities in the US and three other children in private secondary schools in Nigeria. You then begin to wonder where the tens of thousands of dollars the civil servant was spending on his sons and the rest of his family were coming from until you hear about the report of the Auditor General of Nigeria. Though the report detailed missing cash from unremitted funds, royalties, VATS and cash advances, billions more have been stolen via contract awards, fluke procurements and all sorts of dubious purchases.

 The Auditor General reported that the Federal Government was defrauded of over N400 billion. Here are some of the missing funds:

–DPR yet to account for N148.7b revenue from 26 firms

–NIPOST, Police Commission, others fingered in tax diversion

–Embassy in Washington expends N589m IGR on ‘sundry expenses’

–The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has been unable to account for $743,648,242.45 million (about N148.7billion) revenue collected from some 26 oil companies operating in the country.

–Millions of naira lost to illegal withdrawals, unauthorised Payment Vouchers (PVs) and unpaid advances granted to staff of different government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

–The Police Service Commission did not remit Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT) of N74,658,078.44 in 2013 as at 2015, while unremitted taxes by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources stood at N29,367,344.82.

–The DPR outstanding revenue due to the Federal Government from 26 oil companies that are still in operation even with sanctions imposed on them stood at $743,648,242.45.

–N47, 979,758.00 in advances to 47 members of staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs not retired, at the Federal Ministry of Health, the unretired sum stood at N1,637,034,667.46 and at the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter- Governmental Affairs, three advances for amount totaling over N24.5m yet to be retired.

–Advances at the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, N113, 816,803.50 and at the Federal High Court, where advances for 12 staff amounted to N44, 428,125.00.

–A total sum of N90, 588,425.00 granted to 15 officers, some in multiple forms as advances. Each exceeded the limit of N200, 000.00 authorised for procurement of goods and services. Treasury Circular No. TRY/A2 and B2/2009, OAGF/CAD/026/VOL.1/188 of 09/04/2013.

–84 payment vouchers (PVs) amounting to N749, 786,241.31 not produced for audit examination and verification. 28 PVs raised and paid for various insurance premium and renewals between January, 2012 and December, 2014. Relevant documents as letter of engagement/award of insurance contract to the insurance broker or insurance companies, schedule of staff/judges assured or insured were not produced for audit.

–Advances granted to 112 staff from recurrent votes while 50 others benefited from the General Service Vote from July to December, 2014 for various purposes all amounting to N1.1b. The payments were made without raising payment vouchers at the Management Department, which is a violation of financial regulation.

–N803million lost through illegal withdrawals, whose beneficiaries were not indicated, noting that the sum was taken out of the system in three installments.

–It added that PVs for about N322million were not presented for examination despite repeated demands for them.

–The Embassy of Nigeria in Washington DC realised Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of $3,705,428 (N578million) between 2012 and March 2015 but expended the whole sum on sundry expenses.

In which decent society will individuals be able to dip their hands into government funds at will and not end up in jail? We must never miss one point: there are fairly decent civil servants out there, but many of them are powerless and even afraid to speak out. One of such civil servant told the other time that an accountant who report to her and who used to beg for clothes from her husband and brother is not bidding for contracts from the government institution where they work. The young man is now building a house despite earning less than N400, 000 a year. Many in the ministries live far above their means and subsidize their income with government funds from cash advance, cash grabs, contract manipulations, or outright theft of state funds. Do the math and you can see that some in the civil service are as corrupt as their political masters. Things got so bad during the Jonathan kleptocracy when it was a free for all and the bigger the loot the better it turned out for the thieves, and that was when corruption was redefined by presidential order. Ghana must go has come to stay and it is good bye to the banks.

Babs Ajayi




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