Auditor-General, National Assembly and the N2bn Fraud: Why We Must #OpenNASS -Ishola Adebayo

March 9, 2017

The present administration came on board with the outlook of reducing corrupt practices to the barest minimum, if not totally. “Change begins with me” became the slogan the government adopted. The “Change” mantra however, is supposed to cut across every sphere of the society be it those in government and those that were governed.

In relation to the #OpenNASS campaign, which clamors for transparency and accountability within the National assembly, facts were revealed by the Auditor – General of the federation while the account of the NASS was audited. Infact, the Auditor-General reportedly uncovered a financial fraud to the tune of 2 billion naira in the National Assembly expenditure for 2016. The document as seen by a major newspaper revealed that the illegalities were perpetrated in 13 transactions. Reports had it that the transactions involved both chambers of the National Assembly, the Management as well as the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), and the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS).

The report said House of Representatives’ incurred the highest infraction of N1.1 billon followed by the National Assembly Management, N347.8 million; NILS, N246.5 milliion; the Senate N205.7 million; legislative aides N70 million and NASC, N30 million. The annual report for 31st December 2015 was laid on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan.

As usual, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki referred the financial statement to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts for further legislative actions. The committee was given four weeks to look into the matter. We all know that this is their usual culture. We may as well know that this may be the last time we will hear about this report as these political elites exhibit the practice of closing matters like this. Thanks to the revelation made by the office of the Auditor-General, we may as well not have heard anything.

As explained earlier, the National Assembly has been under increasing pressure to make its budget expenditure open despite the promises made by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki to do so before assuming the position. By the way, is this not the chamber filled with people who embezzle the funds meant for their constituency projects without recourse to their pre-election campaigns?

Truth be told, the expenses incurred by the Red and Green Chambers are at the expense of the masses who they are meant to serve. Many occupants of the National Assembly are actually there to protect their selfish interest. According to the truism, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. Tell me, why would you keep your actions to yourself if they are transparent enough? A just man will always want to showcase his sincerity to those who care to listen.

The National Assembly has directly or indirectly, contributed to the downfall of our economy through these financial misappropriation and embezzlement.

Still, the #OpenNASS campaign must go on. It is a known fact that the Office of the Citizen is the Highest Office in the Land. If we are able to speak out on the #OpenNASS campaign with one voice on a regular basis, we will definitely keep them on their toes. Till then, let us always engage our elected official at any chance, the world of social technology has even made it easier for us to #AskQuestions.