Nigerian civil servants in federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) hid stolen funds belonging to the country in at least 500,000 bank accounts, says the Presidency.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime discovered the bank accounts. The president’s media aide Garba Shehu disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.
“His (Mr Buhari’s) administration discovered more than 500,000 bank accounts operated by ministries, agencies and departments. In these accounts, the money belonging to the government was kept,” claimed the Presidency.
The Presidency also revealed that the “agencies went to the banks to borrow money kept by sister agencies” at exorbitant interest rates.
“What is more, some of the signatories had left the service or were ‘unknown’, and so no one had access to the funds,” it stated. “MDAs are now compelled to use the Treasury Single Account, TSA, domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
A few weeks ago, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo blamed the civil servants for Nigeria’s underdevelopment.
“Very often, we hear people say that Nigeria’s problem is not plans and policies, but rather that of a lack of implementation,” he noted. “The subtext of such comments is simple: the bureaucracy is the key; if it works, everything works; if it fails, plans and policies are hardly worth the paper they are written on; the bureaucracy literarily holds the future of the nation in its hands.”
According to the Presidency, the civil servants are not the only ones siphoning public funds. It said past presidents and heads of state also pilfered the public coffer except the incumbent who had saved Nigerians from financial doom.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is a leader. He inherited a treasury that had been emptied by successive previous administrations – and he sought and succeeded in repatriating billions of dollars of stolen funds from overseas,” noted the Presidency.
Supporting the claim, the statement pointed to the fact that Mr Buhari “has not failed to pay the salary of those working for the federal government and declared the failure of states to do so ‘a national disaster’.”
The Presidency’s statement, primarily directed at Governor Samuel Ortom, slammed the Benue helmsman for blaming others for his state’s financial woes.