Senate Orders N300bn Refund From NPA, BPE, 57 Agencies
The Senate on Tuesday directed 59 Federal Government agencies to return over N300bn funds allegedly misappropriated by them to the federation account.
It specifically ordered that all monies illegally spent by the affected agencies including the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Bureau of Public Enterprises between 2013 – 2015, should be recovered and remitted into the nation’s treasury within 60 days.
The Senate took the decision after considering the report of the Committee on Public Accounts on the annual report of the Auditor General for the Federation on the accounts of the federation for the year ended 31st December, 2015.
The committee’s Chairman, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, in his presentation, disclosed that 114 federal agencies out of the over 600 in the country, were queried in the 2015 audit report.
He said 59 out of the figure had their queries sustained after the probe.
In the course of the investigation, Urhoghide said his panel observed across board, the incessant violation of extant rules by Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The Senate faulted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for under remitting N3.88tn revenue.
The Senate in one of its adopted recommendations to the executive arm of government noted that the outstanding collection from solid minerals (N12.14bn) not remitted to the Federation Account, but kept in an account maintained by the Central Bank of Nigeria contravened the provisions of Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
On the unretired advances involving 39 MDAs to the tune of N2.3bn, the upper chamber demanded the sanctioning of accounting officers of MDAs in accordance with the provision of Rule 3124 of Financial Regulations.
It also gave the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, a deadline of 90 days to identify and sanction officers responsible for mismanagement of public funds to the tune of N54.15bn ($274.28m) as exchange loss on external loans.
In addition, the Senate gave another 90-day timeline for the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to set in motion the process for the recovery of internal loans made from other funds which stood at N390.29bn and to be paid back into the Special Funds Accounts.
The sources of the loans are from the Development of Natural Resources Account, Stabilisation Fund Account, 25 per cent Husked Brown Rice Levy, one per cent Comprehensive Supervision Scheme Pool Levy, 15 per cent Wheat Grain Levy, and 10 percent Rice Levy.
The upper chamber also directed the Nigerian Ports Authority to refund $37.63m to the Federal Government due to lack of diligence in the review of NPA’s charges on a contract of towage services.
The upper chamber also demanded that the director-general who authorised the disbursement of contingency provision on the contract for the rehabilitation of Lagos Habour moles to the tune of N417.1m without Federal Executive Council approval to be reported to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in accordance with Rule 3103 of the Financial Regulations.
On other funds allegedly diverted by the NPA, the Senate demanded a refund of various sums in local and foreign currencies, consisting of N1.08bn, $2.3m, and €196,257.42 meant for the Presidential Implementation Committee on Marine Safety and Security.
It added that the non-remittance of another N67.51bn for 2013 and 2014 into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, being 25 per cent of its Internally Generated Revenue contravened the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
On financial infractions by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Senate called for the sanction of the Permanent Secretary in accordance with Rule 3129 of the Financial Regulations and Public Service Rules 030402 over the diversion of N23.64m from the Capital Projects Funds for purchase of Sallah/Christians welfare package to staff of the Ministry.
The upper chamber queried the sums of N46.65m and N56.42m for the printing of the Ministry’s letter-headed paper, and demanded that the sum be recovered and paid back to the treasury.
The Senator representing Sokoto East Senatorial District, Ibrahim Gobir, in his contribution, said his calculation of the total misappropriated funds by the federal agencies, amounted to over N300bn.