Supreme Court in N12bn Scandal as Report Alleges Violation of Financial Regulation, Details Emerge

Supreme Court in N12bn Scandal as Report Alleges Violation of Financial Regulation, Details Emerge

  • The Supreme Court has been plunged into a financial scandal, according to an auditing report released by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF)
  • The OAuGF, in its report, said the apex court violated financial regulations, which amounts to N12 billion
  • The concerns in the 2020 audit report include diverse financial discrepancies like unauthorised contract disbursements, inflated contract values, irregularities in awarding contracts, and excessive contractor expenses journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil societies, courts, and metro

FCT, Abuja - The recent audit report from the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF) uncovered that Nigeria’s Supreme Court violated financial regulations by spending over N12 billion in five years.

The report, released in December 2023, suggests that the Chief Registrar of the court should recover and remit the funds to the treasury.

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The Supreme Court has been found wanting in a case of financial regulation
The audit report confirmed that the Supreme Court made suspicious N12 billion payments and unauthorised sale of assets. Photo Credit: Facebook
Source: UGC

Although the report primarily focuses on the 2020 fiscal year, it also delves into significant payments and transactions made by the Supreme Court from 2017 to 2021.

The current Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hajo Sarki-Bello, assumed her role in 2021, succeeding Hadizatu Uwani-Mustapha, who was in office during the time of alleged infractions.

Mrs. Uwani-Mustapha retired in June 2021.

According to Nigeria’s auditor-general, the highlighted transactions occurred under the oversight of Chief Justices Walter Onnoghen (2016-2019) and Tanko Muhammad (2019-2022).

In a sudden turn of events, Mr. Muhammad resigned from his position in June 2022, attributing it to health issues.

This decision came amidst an unprecedented protest from fellow Supreme Court justices who expressed concerns about his management of the court’s finances and affairs.

The raised issues, highlighted in the 2020 audit report totalling N12.335 billion, encompassed various financial irregularities such as unauthorised contract payments, misuse of government assets for personal gain, inflated contract prices, irregular contract awards, and high costs to contractors, Premium Times reported.

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Auditor-general reacts as Supreme Court responds to alleged violation of financial regulation

The audit report delved into numerous infractions, and when it came to justices’ retirement, the court management justified providing them with official vehicles, stating that it was within their entitlements.

However, the report remained silent on other serious violations outlined within.

The recent audit report highlighting infractions is met with silence from the Supreme Court.

Nigeria’s auditor-general’s office has urged the chief registrar to explain, recover, and return the funds to the federation account.

This request includes providing evidence of compliance with the recommendations to the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly.

It’s not the first time the Auditor-General’s office has accused government ministries, departments, and agencies of financial regulation violations.

Unfortunately, past recommendations from audit reports are often ignored by the National Assembly and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria, leading to a lack of accountability and enabling institutions to engage in corruption by diverting public funds.

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NJC okays appointment of 11 Supreme Court Justices, others

Meanwhile, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended 11 justices of the Court of Appeal for elevation to the Supreme Court bench.

NJC said that the council decided at its 104th meeting after considering the list of candidates presented by its interview committee.

The meeting was chaired by the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, who doubles as NJC’s chairperson.


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