• FOR MORE INFO ON PRESIDENT BUHARI’S ANTI-CORRUPTION CRUSADE, PLEASE ATTEND THE UPCOMING
HOUSE OF LORDS EVENT IN LONDON, UK ON THE 26TH OF OCTOBER 2018. FESTUS KEYAMO (SAN) WILL BE SPEAKING ON ANTI-CORRUPTION & PACAC (PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON ANTI-CORRUPTION) INITIATIVES AND ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE.
(1) Voluntary Income Asset Decleration Scheme (VAIDS)
• President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in demonstration of their commitment to fight corruption upon assumption of office, declared their assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau.
• Signing of Executive Order 004- Voluntary Income Asset Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) this aims to increase tax awareness and compliance, and reduce incidence of tax evasion.
(2) Whistle Blowing Policy*
• Establishment of the new Whistle blowing Policy introduced by the Federal Ministry of Finance has since then yielded several recoveries. These include N13.8 billion from tax evaders and N7.8 billion, $378 million, £27,800 in recoveries from public officials targeted by whistleblowers.
• The Ministry has undertaken 791 investigations and completed 534 of those investigations. Ten are presently under prosecution and four convictions have been secured.
(3) Increased Supervision of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)
• Audit by the National Economic Council (NEC), of key federal revenue generating agencies, which yielded a total sum of N526 billion and $21 billion.
• President Buhari Administration like never before is addressing the issue of poor levels of remittance of operating surpluses by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.
• From remitting only N51 million between 2010 and 2016, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), went on to remit N7.8 billion in 2017, and is on the course to remit a similar amount in 2018.
• The same with Nigeria Customs service which generated N1 trillion in 2017 alone. This figure represents the highest figure so far. Also the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has equally achieved similar feat.
• Setting up the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), which is aimed at strengthening controls over government finances through a continuous internal audit process across all MDAs, particularly in respect of payroll.
• Through the activities of PICA, 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries have been identified, with payroll savings of N200 billion,” the government said.
(4) Expansion of TSA Coverage
• President Buhari issued a directive to all MDAs (ministries, departments and Agencies) to close their accounts with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and transfer their balances to the Central Bank of Nigeria on or before September 15, 2015 as part of the expansion coverage of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the administration.
• The TSA system was launched in 2012, but failed to gain traction until President Buhari’s executive order in August 2015. As at March 2018, 1,674 MDAs had enrolled into the TSA, up from 766 in December 2016.
• It also said that as at March 2018, the TSA had recorded inflows of N8.9 trillion from MDAs.
• This decision to fully operationalise the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system—a public accounting system that enables the Government to manage its finances (revenues and payments) using a single/unified account, or series of linked accounts domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria — has resulted in the consolidation of more than 17,000 bank accounts previously spread across DMBs in the country, and in savings of an average of N4 billion monthly in banking charges associated with indiscriminate Government borrowing from the commercial banks,” the government said.
• TSA has ensured increased transparency in public financial management, as well as preventing a scenario in which some MDAs have idle cash while other MDAs are compelled to borrow exorbitantly from commercial banks.
(5) Deployment of BVN for Payroll and Social Investment Programmes
• Prioritization to the deployment of Bank Verification Number (BVN) for payroll and pension audits.
• The use of BVN to verify payroll entries on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) platform has so far led to the detection of 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries.
(6) Replacement of Old Cash-Based Accountibng System With An Accruals-Based System.
• Accruals-based accounting has presented the true financial position of the Federal Governments assets and liabilities, which would help the Government plan future funding requirements for asset maintenance and replacement, and the repayment of existing and contingent liabilities and, thus, better manage their cash position and financing requirements.
• It provides comprehensive information on Government’s current and projected cash flows, leading to better cash management. For example, the conversion from cash accounting to accrual accounting led to the discovery of unrecorded debt owed contractors, oil marketers, exporters, electricity distribution companies and others.
(7) Creation of Efficiency Unit (EU) to Spearhead the Efficient Use of Government Resources and Ensure Reduction in Recurrent Expenditure*
• The creation of an Efficiency Unit in November 2015 in the Federal Ministry of Finance to review all government overhead expenditure, has reduced wastage and has also provided efficiency and ensures quantifiable savings for the country.
• The Efficiency Unit’s efforts have resulted in savings on travel, sitting allowances and souvenirs to the tune of N17 billion.
• There is potential savings of N7 billion on other expenditure lines where the unit seeks to control spending through Circulars.
• There is on-going work on the deployment of a price-checker, as well as the use of debit cards for payments.
(9)Fiscal Support to States
• Introduction of The Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) is a form programme that specifies conditions under which States can access the Federal Government’s N510 billion Budget Support Facility (BSF).
• The FSP has enhanced fiscal prudence and transparency in public expenditure, across the states.
• Independent verification and auditing of participating states was put in place to check the FSP conditions. State Government that fail to implement the FSP action plans, will be taken off the Budget Support Facility with immediate effect.
(9) Asset Recovery and Other Reforms
• The constitution of a Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery (PCAR), headed by Vice President Yemi Osibajo, to bring together all law enforcement agencies involved in the recovery of assets as well as designation of a dedicated Central Bank Account to receive all recovered funds, for coordination and transparency of management and oversight.
• Submission of Executive Bill for the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between Nigeria and other foreign countries, to facilitate the “identification, tracing, freezing, restraining, recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of proceeds, property and other instrumentalities of crime.
• The aggressive drive to recover stolen wealth have helped the government between January and August 30, 2017 recorded the following monetary recoveries:
• Four Hundred and Nine Billion, Two Hundred and Seventy Million, Seven Hundred and Six Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty Six Naira, Seventy Five Kobo (N409, 270, 706,686.75)
• Sixty Nine Million, Five Hundred and One Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty Six Dollars, Sixty Seven Cents ($69, 501,156.67)
• Two Hundred and Thirty One Thousand, One Hundred and Eighteen Pounds, Sixty Nine Shillings (Pounds 231,118.69)
• Six Hundred and Ten Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixteen Thousand, Twenty Euros (Euro 610,816.20)
• Four Hundred and Forty Three Thousand, Four Hundred Dirham (Dirham 443,400.00 and (Seventy Thousand, Five Hundred Saudi Riyal (SR70, 500.00)
• Recovery of $3 billion dollar by common wealth in the war against corruption.
• Reform in the Judiciary arm of government such as the establishment of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) to, among other things; promote the reform agenda of the government on the anti-corruption effort, and advise the administration in the prosecution of the war against corruption and the implementation of required reforms in Nigeria’s criminal justice system.
• PACAC has empowered judges and prosecutors to operate effectively in carrying out their responsibilities through Workshops on the new Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
• Training of both federal and state prosecutors on proper drafting of charges that has helped anti-corruption agencies devise clearer strategies for obtaining forfeiture of assets suspected to have been acquired fraudulently, from State Coffers, before prosecuting suspected culprits.
• Creation of a new Prison Data Management System as well as the creation of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response Teams to some states as some of its major achievement in the area of transparency and good governance.
(10) Prosecution and Conviction of Public Funds Offenders
• Senator Joshua Dariye (APC, Plateau Central) who was sentenced to 14 years in prison over criminal breach of trust and two years for misappropriation of public funds
• Conviction of a former governor of Plateau State, retired Air Commodore Jonah David Jang, who is presently the Senator representing Jos North Senatorial District, is facing a 12-count charge of diverting N6.3bn alongside a former cashier in the office of the Secretary to the State Government.
• A former Adamawa State governor, Bala James Ngilari, was the first conviction recorded under this administration
• Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, a former governor of Kaduna State was recently sent to prison. He was in detention from May 31 to June 6, 2018 together with a former chairman of the PDP in the state, Abubakar Gaya-Haruna; a former Secretary to the State Government Hamza Ishaq and a former Minister of Power, Nuhu Somo Wya. They are standing trial over an alleged case of fraud instituted against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).
After over a decade trial, Reverend Jolly Nyame, a former governor of Taraba State, was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison for misappropriating funds while in office.
• Peter Nwaoboshi a serving Senator was a guest at the Kirikiri maximum security prison over an alleged N805m fraud preferred against him by the EFCC.
• A former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, has spent 31 months in detention over allegation of mismanagement of $2.1bn meant for the purchase of arms. Most of other corruption cases involving top shots had their root in the Dasuki gate as it is nowknown.
(11) Open Government Partnership (OGP)
• President Buhari had visited countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, United States of America, France, among others to fast track the repatriation of looted fund from the country.
• Attended and participated in the International Anti-Corruption Summit organised by the UK Government in May 2016.
• Agreements and MOUs with various countries to boost international cooperation for the “investigation, tracking, freezing and return of stolen assets”.
• Nigeria became the 70th country to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international transparency, accountability and citizen engagement initiative.
• Establishment of an OGP National Steering Committee (NSC), which went on to develop a National Action Plan (2017–2019) that aims to deepen and mainstream transparency mechanisms and citizens’ engagement in the management of public resources across all sectors.
• Nigeria was elected to lead the OGP in 2018 alongside Argentina, France, and Romania. All four new members of the OGP Steering Committee will serve for three years starting on October 1, 2018.
(12) Oil and Gas Reforms
• Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been publishing its performance monthly report in newspapers and various new media platforms and most importantly on the NNPC website to improve transparency and probity.
• Controversial Offshore Processing Arrangement (OPA) has been cancelled and replaced with a ‘Direct Sales and Direct Purchase (DSDP)’ scheme with reputable offshore refineries.
• The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), which was drafted by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, has been passed into law by the National Assembly, after 17 years of failed efforts.
• The federal government exited the cash call arrangement by which the NNPC traditionally funded its share of the crude oil exploration and production Joint Ventures (JVs) with International Oil Companies (IOCs).
• The cash call obligations had consistently put pressure on the federal government’s finances, and a failure to fully fund them has resulted in the accumulation of debt arrears of 6.8billion dollars, as at December 2015. The $6.8 billion in arrears have been negotiated down to $5.1 billion by the federal government, translating into immediate savings of 1.7 billion.
• A long-term repayment plan has been drawn up for the balance of $5.1 billion.
• (13) Commendation
• United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive-Secretary Yury Fedotov, said: “the commitment of President Buhari to eradicate corruption is a very important asset for us in UNODC as the guardian of the UN Convention Against Corruption.
• The African Union Advisory Board on Corruption unanimously adopted President Buhari as the continent’s preferred leader to lead a vigorous anti-corruption war to rid Africa of corruption.
• President Muhammadu Buhari selected as the Champion of the fight against corruption in Africa at the just successfully concluded 30th AU Summit in Addis Ababa
• Interpol commends EFCC anti-grafts efforts, recommends it as a model for Africa.
AND A LOT MORE….