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Nigeria must tackle reckless spending of public funds, says Tambuwal

By The Rainbow
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The speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Mr Aminu Tambuwal, said that the creation of a National Financial Intelligence Agency will help check the reckless spending of public funds in the country.

According to the speaker, it will go a long way towards addressing the impunity with public officials manage public funds to the detriment of the country.

Tambuwal, speaking at a public hearing organised by the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes on Monday, said that billions of Naira go missing in Nigeria every hour as a result of mismanagement and outright theft of monies belonging to the commonwealth.

He said that the high level of financial impunity in Nigeria was possible because of dubious accounting procedures and lack of specialised agencies that could get facts and details necessary to check corrupt practices and ensure that the perpetrators were successfully prosecuted.

'The bill will help in rectifying the deficiencies in our financial system especially, the share number of loop holes that make it possible for people to perpetrate massive fraud and go unpunished.

'We want to move our nation from the prevailing system whereby a selected few is privileged to a complex way that money is moved around in this country.

'They hide under the shadow and perpetrate all kinds of scam,' the speaker of the house said.

The bill seeks to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency as the central body responsible for receiving, requesting, analysing and disseminating financial and other information to law enforcement and security agencies in the country.

Tambuwal said, 'The House of Representatives of the Seventh Assembly is fully determined to do everything possible to check the haemorrhage of our national resources.

'We must make sure that the people we represent benefit from the democratic system they have sacrificed so much to make possible.' Tambuwal said that the country had witnessed the consequences of the reckless and cavalier manner that public officials and civil servants managed public funds.

He said billions of Naira got missing in the country every year as a result of mismanagement and theft, adding that the level of financial impunity was possible because of dubious accounting procedures and lack of a specialised agency.

Tambuwal, therefore, said the establishment of the agency would create a harmonious inter-agency relationship between various inter-related organisations.

In a remark, Honourable Adams Jagaba, chairman of the committee, said the bill, if passed, would curb money laundering and terrorism.

He said the prevailing institutional arrangement which placed National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) as a department under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was an aberration and not in consonance with international best practices.

All stakeholders at the hearing supported the bill, except the EFCC, which was conspicuously absent.

The American government had called on the Nigerian government to focus on implementation of policies set up to tackle corruption in other to move the country forward.