Reports have revealed that payments totalling N51 billion were made into individual accounts in 2019, as shown by the open treasury portal launched by the Federal Government.
his was contained in the ‘Nigeria’s Spending Platform: Review, Gaps & Recommendations’ report released by civic tech organisation, BudgIT, on Thursday.
BudgIT said it “collated and analysed over 100,000 payment entries from over 600 distinct spreadsheets” combining it with the budget implementation spreadsheet to review the platform and provide recommendations.
The report stated:
Since government contracts are signed with companies, the expectation is that payments are likewise made to companies and not individuals. Where this is not the case, an explanation is required to ensure full transparency.
Between January and July 2019, over 2,900 payments to individuals were recorded at an aggregate value of N51 billion. A few examples include N2.04 billion, N2.04 billion and N1 billion paid into personal accounts on June 21, 2019, without any payment description as well as a N68 million payment for “Ogunsuyi” and N15.8 million for “international” on other dates.”
The reasons and rationale for these are unclear and should be clarified, otherwise, they appear suspicious.
The last two days of December 2019 saw the highest number of payments with 4498 payments on December 30 and 3560 payments on 31 split into two batches. This is a marked shift from other end of quarter payment records – e.g. the last days of Q1, Q2 and Q3, 2019 had 67, 208 and 177 recorded payments respectively.
At N421 billion, the payments made on December 30 and 31 – the last two days of 2019 accounted for 9% of total payments recorded on the platform in that year.
We are worried about why the government would make such large payments on the last two days of the appropriation act.5
According to the report, there were also payment records without corresponding information on ministry, organization and beneficiary and likened such to a situation where “millions of naira were spent but are not traceable”
The minister of finance launched the open treasury portal on December 9, 2019, saying the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation would publish payments of at least N10 million outlining the MDA responsible, the beneficiary, the purpose and amount of each payment while ministries, departments and agencies are required to publish payments above N5 million.
See BudgIT’s tweet below:
BREAKING: @BudgITng discovers over 5000 payments without descriptions to the tune of N278bn and over 2900 payment records totalling N51bn paid into personal accounts with vague descriptions, among other huge discrepancies on the Open Treasury Portal.
Our Press Statement: pic.twitter.com/GyCH5srYle
— BudgIT Nigeria (@BudgITng) June 4, 2020