Corruption: Civil servants worst than politicians – Senate Panel

Corruption: Civil servants worst than politicians – Senate Panel
Chairman of Senate Public Accounts Committee, SPAC, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, has revealed that its investigations so far have discovered that civil servants are more corrupt than politicians.

This he stated in an exclusive interview with PUNCH in Abuja.

The Senate panel, which is the only standing committee of the red chamber recognised by the Nigerian constitution, is currently scrutinising the report of the Auditor General of the Federation from 2015 to 2018.

The AGF report was based on the audit carried out on the accounts of federal ministries, departments, and agencies.

Urhoghide lamented that findings by his panel so far revealed the worst form of corruption, which he tagged, "institutional corruption," was taking place in the civil service.

He said, "Let me say this, we are in a clime where accusations are quick to be made,  where people are quick to to condemn,  particularly against the political class.

"Everybody believes that any evil that happens in Nigeria is perpetrated by the politicians or the political class but we keep telling them that all the political parties put together, in terms of membership,  are not up to 10 per cent of the Nigerian population. So, we do not form the greater majority of our population as a country.

"Findings by our committee have revealed that the public wealth stolen from the system were not stolen by politicians.

"We have uncovered billions of naira stolen from the accounts of the MDAs. How many politicians have that kind of money?

"We have been summoning accounting officers, who are civil servants,  to account for the stolen funds. We are not summoning ministers. There is no way a minister could misappropriate public funds without the active connivance of the accounting officers.

"The permanent secretaries, directors-general and executive secretaries of the MDAs are the accounting officers

"We have uncovered billions of monies spent without due regard to extant Act and regulations. We are not at war with anybody but Nigerians too, must know that the greatest misuse of public funds are perpetrated by people from the civil service.

"That's the truth and no one can controvert that. It is possible that today, in the presidency, the man who symbolises the office, the President would be blamed whereas those under him were the ones perpetrating fraud."

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