Kano Open Government Partnership Secretariat has replied a Freedom of Information Act request by Centre For Awareness On Justice And Accountability on money received from January 2017- June 2019.
In the reply, the Open Government Partnership Secretariat denied insinuation of mismanagement of the fund by its Co-Chairman, Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado noting that document of the OGP expenditure is a public document that can be accessed by any interested party without any ulterior motive.
According to a statement issued by Coordinator (Government) of the OGP secretariat Yahaya Tijjani on Wednesday expressed surprise that those requesting for the information decided to go public without recourse to provisions of section 4, 6, and 7 of the FOIA which provides for seven days, adding that they mischievously accused the Co-Chair of OGP in Kano state Barr. Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado of alleged multi-million naira fraud given to the OGP for less privilege even before the release of the required information.
He said development partners do not give a donation in cash to the secretariat or to the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption.
“What normally happened was that the development partners will shoulder the responsibilities of the funding part of the program embarked upon through their representatives in the implementation process of OGP while the government will bear the cost of other parts.”
‘’Also the Secretariat take cognizance of the requirement of the law on the specific fixed Duty Tour Allowances (DTAs) and other entitlements of the Permanent Secretaries, Directors and other Civil Servants that have in one way or the other being part of the OGP program and such is incorporated in what the Secretariat will perhaps expend, ‘’said the statement.
He said a $100,000 grant support by a development partner, TrustAfrica, on the other hand, is for Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission and not for OGP.
According to the statement,’’ Being the implementing agency the Commission included some of the activities of OGP such as printing of 2000 Action Plan, sensitization workshop to 3 senatorial zones which were spearheaded by the Civil Society actors themselves, not the Commission.
Yahaya Tijjani in the statement noted that there is a big difference between what is budgeted for and what is release on the issue of budget allocation.
‘’The fact remains that it is only government of Kano state that has remained the only state in the federation to provide a budget for OGP program having budgeted N100m for OGP under Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption in 2018 and 2019’’.
“Traditionally, through the state, accessing any budget sum by Ministries, Departments and Agencies is subject to the Executive Council/Executive governor’s approval on a given specific project contrary to what they want to portray. What is budgeted is there as a legal instrument to allow for an expenditure of Open Government Partnership but is not money that is released, it is just an appropriation.
The statement explained that the OGP Secretariat accessed the budget through a Memo to the Governor on given specific purpose such as Kano state attended OGP Global Summit in 2018 in the Republic of Georgia and requested for N 13,972,080.00 through a memo to the governor him dated 19th June 2018 and approved on 25th July 2018 while the money was released 7th August 2018 after attending the program by the state delegates.
Also, it noted that two operational vehicles for the OGP were purchased (Sienna Bus and Hyundai) at the cost of N8, 750, 000.00 to ease the exigency of the transportation and the vehicles are not meant for an individual.
‘’ A sum of 43, 998, 080.00 was released in 2018 for the target expenditures which stands at almost 44% of the budget.’’
The statement, however, added that these allegations are aimed at discouraging the designed activities contained in the OGP action plan and also the personality of the co-chair for the reason best known to the perpetrators.