Ministries, agencies under secret probe over 2011 unspent funds

Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Following the refusal of many Ministries, departments and Agencies (MDAs) to return unspent funds to the Federation Account, the Accountant General of the Federation,  Jonah Otunla, has begun a discreet probe into the financial activities of all the MDAs.

The probe, Premium Times learnt, commenced last month when the Mr. Otunla who was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan in June, 2011, wrote via a February 15, letter to all banks  where the ministries and agencies have accounts.

“I wish to request for a list of bank accounts maintained by Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies in your bank as at 31st December, 2011 in both soft and hard copies,” Mr.  Otunla stated in the letter, exclusively obtained by Premium Times.

“Your Submission should state the Title of the Account, Purpose, Agency, Current Balance, Status (Active or Dormant), whether authorised by OAGF and any other information.”

Though the letter states that “response is expected latest by 29th February, 2012,” sources at the AGFs office told Premium Times that many banks had not complied.

A senior director at the Office of the Accountant General confirmed the probe and the letters in a telephone interview.

“Yes, it is true the AGF wrote to the banks to submit the account details of the MDAs,” said Mohammed Dikwa.

He also confirmed that many banks had not complied saying “they (the banks) will respond.”

Unspent personnel and overhead funds were expected to have been returned to the treasury by December 2011, while unspent capital budget has up till March 31, 2012 to be utilised or returned to the treasury.

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