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CISLAC Calls for Vigilance against Use of Public Fund for Campaigns

A ballot box
A ballot box
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on Nigerian to be vigilant to prevent politicians from using public funds to finance their electoral campaign.

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Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) made the call based on recent media reports that cronies propped up by the presidency allegedly compelling ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government to facilitate the release of funds from their statutory allocations for the oiling of the campaign machinery of President Goodluck Jonathan.

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“The media reports to this effect carried in some Nigerian Newspapers are yet to be denied and the details provided in the publications lend substantial credence to the allegations”, CISLAC said.

“We call on the National Assembly through the respective Committees to embark upon closer preemptive and precautionary oversight of the agencies concerned to ensure that such illegality does not occur. They should also expedite the passage of the 2014 budget to forestall the extra budgetary expenditure made possible by the absence of one. They should also strengthen the relevant laws that regulate the source and limits of political campaign financing.

“We call on the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation to undertake strict and up-to-date scrutiny of the accounts of the MDAs to deter the common occurrence of the practice of diversion of public funds”, the organization said.

CISLAC, he said is astounded at the level of impunity and audacious diversion of resources meant to provide development for the furtherance of the political ambition of individuals.

“This is in spite of the deficit already characteristic of our annual budgets and the deficiency in allocations and expenditures for capital projects in successive budgets. We remind those behind these efforts that their actions are illegal and a violation of all the laws and regulations governing public expenditure management in Nigeria. The absence of an appropriation Act 2014, the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and the various civil service financial regulations make such acts punishable”, it said adding that the ascending levels of corruption and impunity, is again assuming unprecedented dimensions.

“While we are aware of the tendency by politicians in office at all levels to secretly deep their hands into public coffers to fund their parties and personal ambitions, this level of open, official and formalization of the illegal activities, if true, is disgraceful and to say the least, scandalous.

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“CISLAC wonders if this explains the receipt reports of the president rejecting the regulation of campaign expenses toward the 2015 elections. This is in spite of the fact that he is yet to formally declare his intentions to contest.

“We consider the correspondence allegedly signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Political Affairs and reportedly circulated to various government agencies N30,000,000 (thirty million Naira) to facilitate the logistics for presidential campaigns of the incumbent president an act of recklessness and brazen display of executive lawlessness and an unmitigated impudence.

“CISLAC has had cause to project that the level of corruption escalates in years that immediately preceding election and recall that the bulk of the scandalous subsidy and operation of a ‘cabal’ which remains unresolved occurred in the year before the election that brought the incumbent into office and there are still unresolved allegations that the missing funds from the NNPC were stolen in preparation for funding electioneering campaigns.

“We wish to state that these series of unresolved allegations, unresolved cases of corruption unimplemented probe reports and letters demanding unlawful diversion of public funds are one too many and cannot be mere coincidences.

“We therefore call on the ICPC, EFCC, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Code of Conduct Bureau to immediate investigate the veracity of the media reports to establish the existence or otherwise of the supposed letter and take necessary steps to bring offender to book if confirmed”, it said and called on the concerned Agencies to own up or publicly deny the receipt or otherwise of the supposed letter, even if only for record purposes, as a means of reassuring Nigerians that that are not complicit to the diversion of taxpayers monies into private political projects and committing acts of illegality for which they should be prosecuted.

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