The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has welcomed the promise by Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to make details of the disbursement of Excess Crude Account (ECA) fund for the last four years public.
This came following the request on Tuesday by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum for an explanation on how $20 billion that allegedly accrued to the ECA was disbursed.
SERAP, in a statement by its executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni, urged the minister “to release without further delay as full details as possible not only on the disbursement of the ECA funds but also indications and assessment by her ministry as to whether the funds have been appropriately spent.
“It is also important to indicate where and how the information will be published. As Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, we know that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala is well positioned to undertake this assessment.
“SERAP is monitoring the situation very closely. Once the information is published, we will study it very carefully, undertake further research and investigation to establish exactly whether the funds were appropriately spent, and if any mismanagement or theft of public funds is established, take necessary legal action nationally and internationally to achieve full accountability,” the statement read.
“SERAP also hopes Mrs Okonjo-Iweala will share information on internal controls and any surveillance process that her ministry has put in place regarding disbursement of ECA funds. Disclosing the information will allow the citizens to ask questions on the handling of the country’s wealth and resources, and whether the funds disbursed were appropriately spent,” the organization also stated.
“Having a strong, credible, and transparent system for tracking spending by governments is an essential building block of the international system to prevent and combat corruption.
“Transparency and accountability are critical for the efficient functioning of a democratic government and for fostering social well-being. Transparency ensures that information is available that can be used to measure the authorities’ performance and to guard against any possible misuse of powers and national wealth and resources.
“Transparency can indeed contribute to a greater level of accountability that means high ranking government officials can be held responsible for their actions. Without transparency and accountability, trust will be lacking between a government and those whom it governs,” SERAP noted.