The Punch

Senate upholds AG’S report, orders N300bn refund from NPA, BPE, 57 agencies

- Sunday Aborisade, Abuja

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 Accountant­general 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 Accountant­general 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 directorge­neral 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 nonremitta­nce 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.

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