The Accountant General of the Federation, Dr Oluwatoyin Madein, has clarified that her office does not make payments on behalf of government agencies, MDAs.
Madein made the clarification in a statement by the Director, Press, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Bawa Mokwa, in Abuja on Saturday.
According to Madein, the OAGF does not make payments for projects and programmes implemented by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government.
Her reaction was in response to media reports concerning a request from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, and Poverty Alleviation for payment of grants to vulnerable groups in some states of the federation.
She said that allocations were released to self-accounting MDAs in line with the budget, and such MDAs are responsible for the implementation of their projects and payments for such projects.
Madein said that, although her office received the said request from the ninistry, it did not carry out the payment.
“The Ministry was, however, advised on the appropriate steps to take in making such payments in line with the established payment procedure,” she said.
She said that in such situations, payments were usually processed by the affected ministries as self-accounting entities.
While faulting the Minister’s move, Madein said that no bulk payment is supposed to be made to an individual’s account in the name of “project accountant”.
She said that such payments should be sent to the beneficiaries through their verified bank accounts.
Madein reiterated her determination to uphold the principles of accountability and transparency in the management of public finances.
She advised MDAs to always ensure that the requisite steps were taken in carrying out financial transactions.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the clarification is connected with the current probe of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
President Bola Tinubu recently approved the suspension and investigation of Halima Shehu, National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Program Agency, over alleged financial impropriety of about N30 billion.
Shehu, however, reportedly told her investigators that that she moved the N30 billion she is accused of embezzling to other accounts because the minister, Dr Betta Edu, wanted to embezzle it.
She reportedly said that Edu had already misappropriated N585 million by transferring the sum to a private bank account.
In a letter that has since leaked to the public, Edu asked the AGF to transfer N585 million to the said private bank account in UBA, belonging to one Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola.
Reacting, Edu said that the N585 million grant for vulnerable groups was approved, adding that the funds were meant to be grants for vulnerable groups.
She said that the transfer of the N585 million followed due process.
According to the minister, Mojisola, whose bank account was stated to receive the payment, is the project accountant for the Grants for Vulnerable Groups scheme.