Again, the Accountant General Office is enmeshed in yet another corruption allegations as acting Accountant General of Federation, Chukwuyere Anamekwe was replaced yesterday with Sylva Okolieaboh in the space of 35 days.
The same AGF was reported to be embroiled in a corruption scandal as an insider revealed that the then Acting AGF was “under the radar of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over corruption allegations,” this was just about two weeks ago.
Recall that Anamekwe was appointed in May 22, 2022 over a probe into allegations of N80 billion fraud linked to his estranged boss, Former Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris.
However, in what many analysts have labelled as the last straw that broke the camel’s back, Anamekwe claimed that Nigeria is borrowing money to pay salaries.
According to him, “We have to borrow to augment payment of salaries and wages. This shows we are in very difficult times. Government income is highly challenged,”
Meanwhile, no official at the Finance Ministry, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), and the Debt Management Office (DMO) was willing to confirm or deny the allegation of government borrowing to pay salaries.
“You probably should clarify from the AGF or FMFBNP. Funds raised by the DMO are deposited directly into the FGN’s Accounts at the CBN for spending on capital projects. As you know, the DMO does not disburse funds,” a DMO official said.
“The AGF is the administrative head of the treasury of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The office holder is often appointed by the President of Nigeria to serve a four-year term as stipulated in the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.”
This comment is said to have ruffled feathers with those in power, forcing the government to show him the door.
FG announces search for substantive AGF
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Folasade Yemi-Esan, has issued a circular in search of a substantive AGF, directing Permanent Secretaries to forward details of eligible Directors on Grade 17 to her office by 4p.m. on 6 July.
The memo stated the qualification of level 17 officers qualified for the position.
“Those who have attained the position of Substantive Director (Grade 17) on or before January 1, 2020 and are not retiring from the service earlier than December 31, 2024 are eligible to participate in the selection process while officers undergoing disciplinary proceedings are excluded,” the memo said.
In the same vein, the resume of Okolie Aboh showed that he is a chartered accountant and fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
His interests include public financial management (PFM), financial reporting, cash management/Treasury Single Account, revenue/collections management, expenditure and management internal control.
“Well, it is unfortunate, this is happening. It shows that corruption is systemic in Nigeria and the more revelation we have the better it is for the system,” he revealed.
Recall that the former AGF Ahmed Idris was sacked earlier by the Federal government following his arrest over money laundering and diversion of public funds allegations on Tuesday.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) intercepted Mr Idris in Kano on Tuesday and subsequently flew him to Abuja.
The Minister of Finance Ms Zainab Ahmed had said in a letter that “Following your recent arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on allegations of diversion of funds and money laundering, I write to convey your suspension from work without pay effective 18th May 2022.”
Reacting to the development, the CEO of Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE) and Former Director General Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf said that corruption in Nigeria is systemic.
He urged that the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria should step-up their roles in the fight against corruption.
He disclosed that many other offices of government have similar issues.
Also responding to the development, the Executive Director of Nigerian Workforce Strategy and Enlightenment Centre (NIWOSEC), Dr David Kayode Ehindero stressed that the constant change of the Accountant General Office headship is a setback to the country’s Economy.
He stated that the sack of Anamekwe has political inclination considering the fact his utterance on the federal government borrowing didn’t go down well with the managers of Government affairs.
“There are certain persons that are running the Government and what is practised in Nigeria is not democracy, it is autocracy where the cabals just sit and determine what happens in the Government MDAs because there are no checks and balances.
According to him the office of the Accountant General is a very sensitive position that needs stability to carry out effective duties in ensuring proper scrutiny of remitting of revenue Government coffers in the Single Treasury Account but this uncertainty is a hindrance towards the fight against corruption.
Meanwhile, a source within the Ministry of Finance told Nigerian Newssphere that the office of the Accountant General was in the best position to confirm or deny these developments.
Also, as at the time of filing this report, the office of the Accountant General and its official have maintained sealed lips over these recent developments.