Senate has exposed how the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerian Army, Office of National Security Adviser and others collected N76bn from the Office of the Accountant General illegally.
The funds were drawn from 25 per cent Husked Rice Levy, 1 Per cent Comprehension Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) Pool levy , 15 per cent wheat Grain Levy and 10 per cent Rice Levy by Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to these agencies illegally which were never repaid back.
This was revealed in a 2015 Auditor General report which was submitted by the Senate Public Accounts Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide and approved by Senate.
According to the report of the Auditor General, N922.4 million was withdrawn from 25 per cent Husked Brown Rice Levy as loan and N7 billion was also collected from 1 per cent CISS levy as loan and N10 billion as loan to INEC to finance 2015 elections.
The record revealed that the money totaling N17.92 billion was released to INEC as loans on 12 January, 2015, which was never repaid back to the source.
Also from 15 per cent wheat grain levy, an amount totaling N31.4 billion was released to Nigerian Army, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Revitalization of Universities Infrastructures Account and Federal Ministry of Agric and Rural Development.
From the N31.4 billion, Nigerian Army collected – N4.7 billion to fund some of their activities, NYSC collected N6.4 billion to also fund their activities and passing out of orientation camp, Revitalization of Universities Infrastructures Account collected N10 billion for funding of Federal Universities, and Federal Ministry of Agric and Rural Development – N10.2 billion to fund execution of 2013 dry season farming.
Furthermore, loan from Rice Levy account which is about N37.4 billion was given Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Office of National Security Adviser, Nigerian Custom Service (NCS), Nigerian Communication Satellite Operation (NIGCOSAT), INEC, NELMCO.
From the N37.4 billion, INEC collected N10 billion, NIGCOSAT- N450 million, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity- N5 billion to pay the allowance of unskilled youths in Public works programme, ONSA – N3.5 billion , Ministry of Defence – N428 million, Revitalization of Universities Infrastructures Account- N5.3bn .
Findings revealed the funds were never approved by the National Assembly before the office of the Accountant General released the funds to the agencies.
The Senate therefore ordered the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to set in motion the process of recovery of the loans and pay back to Special Funds Accounts and ensure the stoppage of further withdrawal from any of these accounts without the approval of the National Assembly.
The query from the Auditor General of the Federation reads, “It was observed from 2014 audited account that mandate No FD/LP2014/57/1/82/DF dated 12th of January, 2015 amounting to N922.4 million was withdrawn from 25 per cent Husked Brown Rice Levy as loan given to INEC to finance 2015 elections.
“The loan is contrary to the purpose which the fund was established which is to help local production brown rice in Nigeria.
Another query also reads, “It was observed from the 2014 audited accounts that audited account that mandate No FD/LP2014/57/1/82/DF dated 12th of January, 2015 amounting to N7 billion was withdrawn from 1 per cent Comprehension Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) Levy as loan to INEC to finance 2015 elections.
“The loan is contrary to the purpose for which the fund was created which is to fund the destination Inspection Service Providers as provided in the law because they are not paid from Annual budget.’