Why Nigeria loses billions to corruption – Tambuwal



Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, yesterday said that billions of naira is being stolen in the country annually because of dubious accounting procedures and the lack of a specialized agency that is able to get facts and details of these intricate web of corrupt practices and ensure that the perpetrators are successfully prosecuted.
The Speaker, who stated this at a one day public hearing on Financial Inteligence Agency Bill organised by the Adams Jagaba-led Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crime, said that having an agency like the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency for the purpose of generating and analysing financial intelligence would be astep in the right direction.
He said, “We believe that this level of financial impunity is possible because of dubious accounting procedures and the lack of a specialised agency that is ble to get facts and details of this intricate web of corrupt practices and ensure that the perpetrators are successfully prosecuted.
“The Bill equally seeks to institutionalise the application of best practices in financial intelligence management in Nigeria.
“We have all seen the consequences of the reckless and cavalier manner that public officials and civil servants manage public funds.
“Today, billions of naira go missing in this country every year as a result of mismanagement and outright theft of money belonging to the commonwealth.
“The House of Representatives of the seventh Assembly is fully determined to do everything possible to check the hemorrhage of our national resources.
“We must make sure that the people we represent benefit from the democratic system they have sacrificed so much to make possible.
“This Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency will no doubt help in rectifying the deficiencies in our financial system, especially the sheer number of loopholes that make it possible for people to perpetrate massive fraud and go unpunished.
“We want to move our nation from the prevailing system whereby only a select few is privy to the complex way that money gets moved around in this country and so they could hide under the shadows and perpetrate all kinds of scam.
“With this law, we will be establishing an agency that can ensure that security services and other critical organs of government are regularly updated on the way that public funds are spent and in whose illegal pockets they have been diverted. It will make for better accounting, more transparency and thus reduced fraud.
“In essence, we shall be enhancing the practice of international standards of accounting in our public offices, in all its ramifications.  In view of this, the House will provide support for the legal framework of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit not only through the passage of the Bill but by making adequate appropriation for the effective and smooth operation of the Unit.”
According to Tambuwal, it would be better if Financial Intelligence Centre could create harmonious inter-agency relations between various inter related organisations so that it could act as the clearing house for all manner of previously inaccessible information and reduce the temptation to hide crucial financial facts from those who are legally required to know.

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