Track treasury looters, CSJ tasks CBN

By David Agba

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Abuja – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN ) has been charged to track and fish out treasury looters rather than blocking accounts of those involved in the #EndSARs protests.

Lead Director of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Barrister Eze Onyekpere gave this charge Thursday in Abuja during the presentation of the ‘Draft Audit Compliance Assessment Template’.

Fuming, Onyekpere said, “We are worried that Nigeria has the capacity to trace looted funds and fight corruption, our major concern is that the CBN could only block alleged #EndSARS promoters accounts but couldn’t track public officers who have and are still looting the treasury running into billions of naira.

“This shows a deliberate refusal to work. CBN should explain to Nigerians why they held back but only reacted when the youth acted.”

On the key issues from the 2014-2017 federal audit reports from the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation, which necessitated the formation of the template, Onyekpere pointed out that the objective is to improve the federal audit practice by putting these issues in the front burner of public discourse.

The report according to him, “Documents the withholding of funds due to the federation account by key agencies, the failure to remit due sums to the consolidated revenue fund, irregularities in payment and expenditure as well as in contract awards, store items not taken on store charged unretired loans and advances. It is a continuation of the norm of impaired accountability.”

Continuing, he said, “The Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation needs a supportive institutional environment in which audit issues can be taken seriously and identified flagrant abuses remedied.

“In this direction, the collaboration of the Public Account Committee (PAC), anti-corruption agencies, the media, non-governmental organizations, and other aspects of civil society, collectively dubbed “Pillars of Integrity” is imperative.

“The Auditor-General will be effective to the extent that theses vital pillars collaborate to promote accountability and transparency in governance and public finance management,” he added.

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