The Civil Society Network Against Corruption, which is a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organizations, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to commence investigation on the allegations of missing and unremitted funds from public accounts following the 2016 audit of the accounts of some Federal Government’s ministries and agencies by audit firm, Price WaterHouse Cooper.
This was contained in a petition forwarded to the anti-graft commission and signed by the Chairman of the Network, Olanrewaju Suraju.
CSNAC said its petition was based on the report by Sahara Reporters of August 27, 2018, where the online Newspaper highlighted some of the auditor’s discoveries following a scrutiny of the 2016 audit report.
According to report, some of the said revelation included the discovery that N50 million loan was written off the books of National Poverty Eradication Programme, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and to some Federal Government staff, without proper disclosure in the financial statement.
Similarly, the report indicates that some collecting agencies in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Department of Petroleum Resources did not remit any revenue into the Federation Account for some months, neither was any explanation given why those months recorded no revenue.
CSNAC said it is worth noting that going by the provisions of Section 85 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, all public account must be audited mandatorily.
Public account includes both the federation account and accounts of all government parastatals.
The anti-graft coalition gave details of the said misappropriation and irregularities as follows: “N4 trillion unremitted revenue: A whooping sum of N4 trillion was, as of the time of preparing the report, unremitted to the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“The total revenue unremitted as at 1st January 2016 from amounts payable into the Federation Account by NNPC was ₦3,878,955,039,855.73 [Three trillion, eight hundred and seventy-eight billion, nine hundred and fifty-five million, thirty-nine thousand and eight hundred and fifty-five Naira].
“The sum of N2,198,138,355,860.30 was due in revenue to the Federation Account out of the total generated in 2016, however, NNPC paid the sum of N1,000,545,058,966.2 resulting in an amount withheld of N197,593,296,894.02. This brought the total amount withheld by NNPC from the Federation Account as at 31 December 2016 to N4,076,548,336,749.75.”
It submitted that this act of under-remitting to the central account has been a year-on-year occurrence, according to the auditor.
Opaque record-keeping by NNPC:
“NNPC also failed to clearly state exactly the quantity of crude oil lifted or delivered to Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company (WRPC), and Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical company (KRPC).
“From the examination of the Domestic Crude Oil Lifting sales profile, a total crude oil lifting of 8,399,027 bbls with a total sales value of $376,655,589.03 (N102, 659,577,632.16) was stated to have been lifted jointly by these two companies.
“However, the auditor held that the failure to properly separate these deliveries and charge directly to each company makes it difficult to reconcile and account for each lifting.”
Misappropriation of Ecological Fund:
“The report revealed that funds made available for solving ecological problems in the country were used for other unstated activities not related to purposes for which the fund was set aside.
“For instance, over N28 billion, out of the N48,601,928,311.08 meant for development of natural resources, was diverted to other projects. Similarly, the Federal Government “borrowed” from these funds without stating how it intended to pay back.
“We note that the various withdrawals from Funds by the Federal Government are stated to be borrowings. We further observed that the arrangements for the repayment of these funds or borrowings are unclear. For example, the 2017 Budget did not include any appropriations for the repayment of these borrowings.”
N413 million unreturned impress:
“At least, 59 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government refused to return a total sum of N413, 449,306.08 back to source.
“This is in contravention of the Financial Regulation (2009), which stipulates that “all standing impress must be retired on or before the 31st December of the financial year in which they were issued, while special impress shall be retired immediately the reason for which they were granted cease to exist.”
CSNAC said the auditor also added that no explanation whatsoever was provided for the unretired funds.
Nigeria lost N941 billion in uncollected revenues: “The financial document revealed that there was a reduction in revenue collected across government agencies except from the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). The total sum of N941, 039, 251, 064 was reported uncollected by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the NNPC.
“The report said: ‘The NNPC revenue fell from N2,442,895,781,050.53 to N1,725,318,486,455.07 a difference of N717,577,294,595.46 representing about 29% decrease, FIRS revenue fell from N2,403,882,419,922.32 in 2015 to N2,320,485,354,727.58 a difference N83,397,065,164.74 representing a marginal 3.4% decrease while that of DPR fell from N608,083,591,121.01 to N468,018,699,815.74 a difference of N140,064,891,305.27 representing 23% decrease.”
N50 billion Disappeared:
“Investigation by the audit firm revealed that N50 billion loan was written off the books of National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and to some Federal Government staff, without proper disclosure in the financial statement.
“Similarly, some collecting agencies in NNPC and DPR did not remit any revenue into the Federation revenue account for some months, neither was any explanation given why those months recorded no revenue.”
Senate Staff Cashed in N747 million:
“Advance payment of over N747 million given to staff of the Nigerian Senate for procurement in 2016 had not been retired as of June 2017.
“Also, some staffers of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing received cash advances to the tune of N26, 369, 523 which was not retired at the end of the financial year. Rather than recover this fund, new cash advances were granted the same officers yet to retire the first cash advance received. Same practice was reported at the Bureau of Public Service Reform. Fifty-six members of staff received advance cash of various sums, totaling N35, 209, 835 that went unremitted at the end of the financial year.”
Withdrawal from the federation account without approval:
“N409 billion was withdrawn from the federation account to set off external debts owed by states and FCT, without the authorization from the Auditor-General. This contravened Section 168 (1) of the constitution holds that ‘Where any payment falls to be made under this Part of this Chapter, the amount payable shall be certified by the Auditor-General for the Federation.’
“The Accountant-General of the federation was, however, requested to provide explanation for non-compliance with Section 168(1) of the Constitution and ensure that henceforth, no such off-set are made from the Federation Account without the certification of the Auditor-General for the Federation in compliance with the Constitution.”
CSNAC said it is in view of the afore-detailed losses to the country where an overwhelming number of its citizens are wallowing in abject poverty that “we demand the action of the EFCC to ensure that relevant processes towards the recovery of the alleged ‘missing’ or ‘disappeared’ monies is urgently fast-tracked and officials responsible for the management of all the defaulting ministries and funds are held accountable in line with the provisions of the law.”