The Debt Management Office, DMO has described as false and outright lies a report published in a major Nigerian Newspaper of an alleged N1.08 billion fraud in the agency under the Federal Ministry of Finance.
In a statement on Saturday, the DMO said the Vanguard story, titled: “Alleged N1.08 billion corruption scandal hits DMO,” was a twisted and distorted information designed by the purveyors to discredit the credible image of the Office.
It said: “The DMO hereby states unequivocally that the story is false, full of lies and the documents referred to in the Vanguard’s report have been twisted and distorted with the intention to misinform the general public and discredit the institution.
“The Vanguard story is not a true representation of the dealings in the DMO.
“It should be noted that the DMO is an accountable, transparent and responsible organization that works in accordance with laid down civil service procedures and it is highly regarded by Multilateral Agencies and financial institutions as a reputable Government Agency.”
The DMO described the sponsors of the story as “disgruntled elements” who, it added, have not only breached the Civil Service Rules but have also contravened laid down procedures for dealing with official matters.
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It further stated that those who authored the false documents resorted to illegally leaking official documents due to their recent redeployment.
“They colluded with other disgruntled persons who have failed in their attempts to control the running of the affairs of the DMO, which has blocked their ability to pilfer public funds.
“The story referred to documents that, on their own, are incomplete and do not reflect the whole story or the purpose of any transaction. The claims that events and travels by officials of the DMO either did not take place or did not hold are false and an attempt to discredit the impeccable records of the organization. These speak to their desperation to give the institution a bad name.
“It is unfortunate that a reputable news medium such as Vanguard would lower its guard by allowing its platform to be used to promote falsehood by disgruntled and fraudulent elements in the DMO without cross-checking with the management of the organization,” the government agency said.
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The DMO also disclosed that it will brief relevant security agencies in the country to thoroughly investigate the sources of the documents, on which the sponsors based their story, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to booking line with Public Service Rules No. 030401 and 030402.
According to it, the Public Service Rules No. 030401 and 030402 prescribes dismissal for unauthorized disclosure of official information as a serious act of misconduct.
Vanguard Newspaper had on Saturday reported large-scale financial wrongdoings in the DMO allegedly perpetrated through various means ranging from awards of contracts, operating on temporary files, unauthorized overseas trips, organization of fictitious events, production of fake transport receipts and destruction of official documents.
According to the newspaper, the DMO requested the then Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun to approve the sum of N90 million to cover travel expenses to states for eight DMO staff to carry out reconciliation of the Paris Club Refunds. Adeosun approved N60 million for the exercise.
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The Vanguard reported that the money was released to the DMO via AIE No. CMD/SW/REC/008/2018 dated 12th January, 2018 but the members of staff nicknamed ‘the Task Force’ never travelled to any state.
“They rather worked in-house to conclude the assignment, using the records already in the possession of the DMO.
“It was gathered that the money was subsequently withdrawn in tranches, brought to the office and distributed to the staff contrary to extant regulations.
“The first tranche of the money, it was learnt, was N4.8 million, the 2nd, 3rd & 4th tranches were released in the sum of N20 million each and N15.2 million respectively totaling N60 million,” the newspaper said.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that the eight staff of DMO who did the work were only given about N2,500,000 each on the average, making a total of about N20 million with the balance of N40 million allegedly diverted