Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, to probe how the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources spent N116 million to buy stationery items in 2015.
SERAP in a statement signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare on Sunday, December 13, 2020, also urged the president and the minister to investigate the amount spent on the same items between 2016 and 2020
The organisation advised the president to “refer the matter to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for prosecution” if there is evidence of misuse of public funds in the ministry.
Recall that the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation recently revealed before the Senate Public Accounts Committee that the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources spent N116 million to buy pens, letterheads and toners in one year.
However, in the SERAP’s statement, then organisation argued that “A democratic government accountable to the people must be as transparent as possible and must not withhold information for self-serving reasons or simply to avoid embarrassment.
The statement further reads; “We would therefore be grateful if you would indicate the measures being taken to probe the spending of N116m on biros, letterhead and toners in 2015, and disclose the total amount spent on the same items between 2016 and 2020 within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter.
“If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps being taken in this direction, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your Ministry to implement these recommendations in the interest of transparency and accountability.”
“The Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources has a legal obligation to conduct an effective investigation into any allegations of breach of anti-corruption legislation and international standards, including those relating to the spending by the Ministry on biros, letterhead and toners between 2015 and 2020.”
Barely a week ago, the organisation urged the president to instruct the Director-General and Board of the National Pension Commission to use their statutory powers to prevent governors from borrowing N17 trillion from pension funds.
The organisation called on then president after the 36 state governors in the country resolved to borrow the amount from the pension funds for ‘infrastructural development.’