FG criminalises payment for constituency projects without SGF clearance




 

The federal government has directed that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that pay constituency projects without clearance from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation would be prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

This was disclosed Thursday by the acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Habiba Lawal at the opening session of Stakeholders’ Interactive Forum on the Implementation of Zonal Intervention/Constituency Projects in Abuja.

The acting SGF, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties Office, Mr. William Alo, said henceforth, payment by MDAs without clearance would not be tolerated.

“This is tax payers money that must be accounted for. A team from the office of SGF will visit the project and carry out due diligence and ensure it was done according to specifications before payment will be authorised. If you pay without clearance is embezzlement and is corruption.

“This is government policy we are duty bound to adhere to it. Henceforth, projects must have impact on the lives of the people. That is the bottomline of this stakeholders forum. The intervention by the executive to situate the supervision of the constituency projects in the OSGF is aimed at ensuring that these projects are not abandoned even when members of the National Assembly facilitating them leave office.

“The Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) are responsible for the actual implementation of these projects while the OSGF will monitor, evaluate, verify implementation and authorize payment at various stages of execution. Therefore, payments for constructs under the Zonal Intervention/Constituency projects will be made based on satisfactory performance in order to ensure value for money. Furthermore, contractors handling Zonal Intervention/Constituency projects shall only be paid upon authorization by the OSGF,” she said.

In his remarks, chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Constituency Outreach, Mr. Lawal Abubakar, the projects are meant to alleviate poverty and execute projects in communities usually overlooked in budgetary allocations.

Also speaking, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Kpotum Idris, said it was within the purview of the legislature to bring out projects that would be beneficial to their constituencies.

The IGP expressed concern that money appropriated for project does not reflect the actual cost of the project and the issue of non-release of funds for projects.

He stressed the need for mechanism for completion of projects to be put in place even after the initiator has left the scene.

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