Senate has exposed how the Office of Accountant General of the Federation illegally withdrew N665.8 billion from Solid Mineral Development Funds and Stabilization funds to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ministry of Power, Army among others .
Senate Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide in its investigation discovered many government agencies benefited from the funds illegally diverted from the office of Accountant General of Federation.
Senate therefore ordered the Office of Accountant General of the Federation to ensure recovery of the funds.
Further investigation showed that the federal government paid entitlement of former President, Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President, Namadi Sambo which is about N1.5 billion from the fund on June 11, 2015
It is also discovered that electoral body collected about N20 billion from Development of Natural Resources Fund apart from N17.9 billion collected Brown Rice Levy , Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) Pool Levy and Rice Levy.
The money (N30 billion ) was also released for INEC for the conduct of 2015 general elections while the N10 billion was released on July 3, 2014, N20 billion was released to INEC on January 12, 2015 for the conduct of General elections .
Other beneficiaries of the funds (Solid Mineral Development Funds) illegally diverted are Ministry of Foreign Affairs – N3.6 billion, N50 billion diverted to fund deficit in 2004, Ministry of Works – N2 billion, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria – N13 billion , Ministry of Sports N500 million, Monetization arrears due to PHCN staff – N57.5 billion, N70 billion to accelerate capital budget in 2010, loan to facilitate the funding of Capital budget in 2010- N80 billion , loan to facilitate 2013 Capital budget 4th quarter- N80.7 billion , Loan to Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission – M6 billion in 2014.
In addition, N15 billion was released to Lucius Nwosu as judgement debt of N37 billion for Genocide at Odi, N14 billion was released to Ministry of Power for Kasshibilla Hydropower Transmission Projects, among others .
From the stabilization fund, N847 million was given to Ghana, Sao Time Pricipe, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also collected N87 billion to commence the conduct of fresh voters registration , but paid back N21 billion yet to balance N66.7 billion , N32 billion for the completion of 4th quarter and 3rd quarter of 2013 capital projects , N2 billion for the funding of Army operation in 2013, another N3 billion loan to INEC for the speed up Electoral process in 2013, loan to Nigerian Army for recruitment of 9,000 recruit in 2013- N3.5 billion and many more .
The Auditor General report in its query against depletion of Special Funds had said, “Amount totaling N455 billion were withdrawn from Development of Natural Resources as loans to various beneficiaries between 2004 and 2015, contrary to the established objectives of the funds.
” The purpose of the Development of Natural Resources Fund is to provide financial resources to development alternative mineral resources Development. The Development of Natural Resources Fund belongs to the Federal government.
“Also, various amounts totaling N210.3 billion were withdrawn from stabilization fund as loans to various beneficiaries, between 2004 and 2015 contrary to the established objectives of the funds.
“The purpose of the stabilization fund is to provide for unforeseen contingencies and economic downturn and the beneficiaries are the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The stabilization fund bongs to three tiers of government.”
Senate in its resolution after approved the report of its Committee on Public Accounts said, “The office of the Accountant General of the Federation should set in motion the process of the recovery of the loans and pay back to the special funds Accounts.
“Ensure that henceforth, payments from these special funds are strictly applied for the purpose were created.
“Ensure the stoppage of further withdrawal from these Accounts without a resolution of National Assembly.”