By Bala Ibrahim.
Nigeria is in trouble, but perhaps many would not understand until later, because, calling an accountant to account, comes with chronic consequences, especially for PMB, who made the fight against corruption his major campaign focus. The breaking news last night, and one that is trending now is that, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, has been arrested.
According to reports, Ahmed Idris was arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of at least N80 billion in public funds, which was allegedly laundered through some bogus contracts. N80 billion?
Am not good with maths, so I cant easily interpret the number of zeros that make up a billion, but my friend Cham Faliya Sharon, opined thus: “Looting N80bn! Money that is bigger than the annual budgets of some states! This Accountant General of the Federation has the same DNA with Diezani!”
Good God! Money bigger than the budgets of some states? Even though by law, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty, going by the words of the anti graft agency, EFCC, that the money was invested into real estate in Kano and Abuja using proxies, family members, and close associates, and that Mr Idris was summoned repeatedly for interrogation but evaded or failed to honour the invitations, alongside the doctrine of the balance of probability, which says that, a court would be satisfied that an event occurred if the court considers that, on the evidence, the occurrence of the event was more likely than not, one can say that his actions tantamount to a partial admittance of guilt.
We all know that it is the duty of the Accountant-General to carry out revenue monitoring and accounting, issue officially approved forms bearing Treasury numbers for use in all State MDAs and other arms of government to ensure uniformity, formulate the Accounting policy of the government, as well as service public debt and loans.
So in a weak capitalist economy like Nigeria, this is a very bad news, and I hope PMB would use it to convince the world that he means business in the fight against corruption.
Capitalism is often thought of as an economic system in which private actors own and control property in accord with their interests, and demand and supply freely set prices in markets in a way that can serve the best interests of the society.
But when the capital thrown into the market is stolen from the public treasury, and the public is expected to compete with such proceeds of corruption, there would be the failure of equality of outcome and that of equal opportunity. And the Economists have long told us that, inequality creates social divisions, and they come with chronic consequences.
In this case, the first consequence is the public perception about the fight against corruption by the Buhari administration. There would be a lot of allusions, one of which has since been advanced by Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga, thus:
“The man implementing IPPIS is now arrested by EFCC for alleged involvement in N80 billion fraud. The primary goal of IPPIS is to check fraud by promoting transparency. The success of any policy depends on the sincerity and integrity of those implementing it. As many critics have said, IPPIS is another name for the centralisation of corruption. They are now vindicated”.
Surely the arrest of the Accountant General would put to test the Key Performance Index, KPI, of PMB’s administration, because a good performance index should mix together elements that all genuinely contribute to the same measurable outcome and offer at a glance insight into a complex situation.
This situation is complex, because for sometimes, Nigeria has been operating under an economic policy that pretends to accomplish three policy goals: