The House of Representatives conducted an investigative hearing revealing financial irregularities in the NAGGW’s expenditures.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives probed alleged financial irregularities in National Agency for Great Green Wall’s (NAGGW) spending, as reported by The Guardian.
The agency is accused of spending N81.2 billion on planting 21 million trees across 11 frontline states: Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno.
Conflicting Financial Reports
Chaired by Isma’ila Dabo, the investigative committee was dissatisfied with the conflicting financial reports provided by various entities, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (oAGF), and the NAGGW itself.
These disparities emerged while scrutinizing documents provided by these entities.
The Initiation of Investigation
The investigation was initiated following a resolution made during a July plenary session, where the House decided to establish an ad hoc committee to scrutinize the utilization of ecological funds allocated to NAGGW since 2015.
Concerns Raised by Lawmakers
In the inquiry, legislators expressed worries about detailed expenses noted in the documents, particularly renovation and lodging costs.
It was noted that significant amounts were spent on renovating office accommodation.
Specifically, N697.372 million, N500 million, and N480.657 million were allocated for this purpose.
Capital and Constituency Projects
The committee questioned NAGGW’s expenditure of N11.28 billion on capital and constituency projects.
Legislators queried the logic of retaining significant funds in the agency’s account for extended durations without adhering to financial regulations that mandate returning them to the government.
Audit and Capacity Building
The committee raised alarms about NAGGW’s absence of financial audits since establishment.
They also faulted the agency for allocating substantial sums to capacity building and other ventures that appeared unrelated to its intended mandates. Prior Money Laundering Case.
Previous Case of Money Laundering
The investigation also revisited a previous incident from 2015, where N1 billion belonging to the agency was reportedly fraudulently laundered by officials from the Federal Ministry of Environment.
Thankfully, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) successfully reclaimed this sum.
It was revealed that the unauthorized transfers involved the collaboration of financial banks and Bureaux de Change.
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What is the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW)?
NAGGW is a federal agency implementing Nigeria’s role in the African Union’s Great Green Wall initiative, addressing desertification and land degradation in the Sahel region.
Why was the investigation conducted?
The probe aimed to uncover possible financial irregularities in NAGGW’s spending.
What were the main investigation findings?
The inquiry revealed conflicting financial records, significant expenses for renovation and lodging, questionable capital and constituency project outlays, retained unreturned government funds, and an absence of audits and capacity building.
What was the previous case of money laundering?
In 2015, officials from the Federal Ministry of Environment reportedly fraudulently laundered N1 billion belonging to the NAGGW. This amount was subsequently recovered by the ICPC.
What are the implications of these findings?
The findings call for stricter oversight and accountability in the management of public funds allocated for ecological purposes.