HEDA Tackles Nigeria’s Accountant-General Office Over N173bn Unexplained Expenditure

Nigeria’s foremost anti-corruption group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, has asked the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to explain to Nigerians why it made a total payment of N173bn into various government accounts without proper schedule on what the funds were meant for.

HEDA in partnership with a data advocacy organisation, Dataphyte, in a letter filed in line with the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act  2011, asked the OAGF to within seven days furnish the organisations with full information and disclosure on what the funds lodged between January and April 2020 were meant for.

“One of the cardinal principles of accountability is that payments made by the OAGF into any government account must give details of what the funds are meant for. This is the best global practice adopted by many countries who are committed to the fight against corruption,” HEDA said in the letter signed by its Legal Officer, Rebecca David. 

On May 29 this year, Dataphyte published a report titled, “₦173 Billion Payments Without Description Defeats Nigeria’s Open Government Initiative”, indicating the failure of the Office of the Accountant-lGeneral of the Federation to properly describe payment made to contractors and government agencies.

HEDA said this was observed in a Dataphyte analysis on the Open Treasury Portal, which showed that ₦173bn worth of payments between January and April 2020 had no description. 

The payments are cumulative records of 1,353 payments to various ministries, parastatals, security agencies, educational institutes, among others. HEDA also attached details to the request.

It also attached detailed information containing the analysis highlights, date, payment number, payer code, name of organisation, name of beneficiary and amount while the purpose and description of each payment was not stated, hence the need for this request.     

The group noted that between January and April 2020, payments made were not described to capture the purpose or description, urging the Accountant-General to provide a comprehensive and detailed description on the payment made within the stipulated period.