Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to “urgently begin a thorough and efficient investigation into allegations of corruption following a shortfall in the remittance of accrued funds for the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) projects of over N500bn from January 2012 to September 2013.”
The group also asked the commission to bring to justice suspected perpetrators. The petition sent to the commission last week was signed by the organization’s executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni.
The petition reads in part: “SERAP is seriously concerned that the failure to account for the shortfall of about N500bn out of the over N800bn which ought to have accrued for the SURE-P projects is a flagrant denial of the social and economic development of millions of Nigerians.”
ICPC Boss, Ekpo Nta
According to the organization, “The inability of government officials to account for huge amount of resources mapped out for the improvement of the country is a serious impediment and setback to the goals of development for which the SURE-P funds have been set aside to achieve in the first place. The denial of the rights of millions of Nigerians has contributed hugely to extreme poverty and civil strife.”
The organization also said that, “The problem is compounded by the continuing failure of the government to effectively ensure transparency and a genuine system of accountability as well as its failure to investigate and prosecute those high ranking public officials suspected to be involved in corruption.”
The organization said the allegation of the missing funds “constitutes a serious breach of the ICPC Act and the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”
“We recall the heightened agitations which followed shortly after the announcement on the removal of oil subsidy in early 2012. The partial removal of oil subsidy targeted a list of developmental demands which the SURE-P funds was set up to meet. The challenges created in the shortfall of funds accruing to the SURE-P and the shortfall in remittance to the SURE-P management team, as well as the failure to account for such shortfall is already an outright failure of government to allay the fears of millions of Nigeria against even a partial removal of oil subsidy,” the organization.
The organization therefore asked the ICPC to:
Carry out a comprehensive and transparent investigation of allegations of shortfall in the remittance of accrued SURE-P funds in the petroleum sector and to make public its findings. We believe this would serve as a necessary precursor to strengthening transparency and accountability and reducing the incidence of corruption in the sector. Among others, the investigation should seek to obtain the following information: What happened to the shortfall of over N500bn? How much so far has been remitted to the SURE-P funds? What amount remains to be remitted to the SURE-P funds? What is the extent of complicity and responsibility of Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the remittance of the SURE-P funds? How much funds has been utilised by the SURE-P?
Bring to justice all suspected perpetrators of corruption in the petroleum sector.
Vigorously engage policy makers and political leaders in developing an anti-corruption strategy such as establishing an independent audit group for the purposes of ensuring and recovering the outstanding remittance recovered for the execution of SURE-P projects.