Audit report: Senate asks NNPC, NPA, BPE, 56 others to refund N300bn
The Senate, on Wednesday, decried the abuse of public office by heads of Ministries, Department and agencies, particularly the Federal Government revenue generating agencies.
It, therefore, directed 59 of the agencies to return over N300 billion allegedly misappropriated into the Federation Account.
The Red Chamber also ordered that the funds spent without authorization between 2013–2015 be remitted to the Treasury within 60 days.
The Senate resolutions were sequel to the consideration of 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 (Part I1 &1).
The nation oil giant, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) was indicted for financial recklessness for failing to remit the sum of N3,878,955,039,855.73 trillion revenue from domestic crude oil sales to the Federation Account for the period of January to December 2015.
The Senate noted that deduction from source by the NNPC contravened Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
To mitigate future excuses from the NNPC, the Senate mandated the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) or any other approving authority to, as a matter of urgency, approve a percentage that should be allocated to NNPC monthly as operational cost.
In the same vein, the upper legislative chamber frowned at the outstanding collection from Solid Minerals put at N12,137,140,361.58 but not remitted to the Federation Account. It maintained that keeping such funds in an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria was in breach of Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
It equally tasked the FAAC to fix a percentage to be allocated to Mining and Cadastral Office as cost of collection as is currently applicable to NCS (7 per cent), DPR (4 per cent) and FIRS (4 per cent) of non-oil revenue.
The Senate consequently gave the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, a timeline of 60 days to identify and sanction officers responsible for the mismanagement of public funds to the tune of N54,151,360,000 billion ($274,280,000.00) as exchange loss on External Loans.
The Accountant General is expected to report back to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts led by Senator representing Edo South, Mathew Urhoghide.
In addition, the Senate gave another 90 days timeline for the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to set in motion the process of recovery of Internal Loans made from other Funds which stands at N390,288,085,668.92 billion and to be paid back into the Special Funds Accounts.
The source of the loans are from the Development of Natural Resources Account, Stabilization Fund Account, 25 per cent Husked Brown Rice Levy, 1 per cent Comprehensive Supervision Scheme (CISS) Pool Levy, 15 per cent Wheat Grain Levy, and 10 per cent Rice Levy.
In another vein, the upper chamber directed the Accountant-General of the Federation to recover the sum of N378,879,674.99 tax revenue from Webb Fontaine Ltd and remit same to the Federal Inland Revenue Service within six (6) months.
It also called for a review of all companies that were paid from the out-flow of one per cent CISS Account which amounted to N39,557,671,843.97.
The upper chamber also directed the Nigerian Posts Authority to refund the sum of $37,627,939.75million (USD) to the federal government coffers due to lack of diligence in the review of NPA’s charges on a contract of Towage services.
It further mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to subject the Accounting Officer to investigation in accordance with Rule 3112 (I and II) of the Financial Regulations.
It also demanded that the Director-General authorised the disbursement of contingency provision on the contract for the rehabilitation of Lagos Habour moles to the tune of N417,099,309.06 without Federal Executive Council approval to be reported to President Muhammadu Buhari in accordance with Rule 3103 of the Financial Regulations.
On other funds diverted by the NPA, the Senate demanded a refund of various sums in local and foreign currencies, consisting of N1,075,266,599.06, $2,301,329.54 (USD), and €196,257.42 (Euros)meant for the Presidential Implementation Committee on Marine Safety and Security (PICOMSS) to the account of the National Security Adviser to the o President, contrary to a directive approved by the Federal Executive Council on February 21, 2007.
It added that the non-remittance of another N67,508,041,250.00 for 2013 and 2014 into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), being 25 per cent of its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) contravened the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
It further noted that the failure to remit capitalised interest to the Consolidated Revenue Fund totalling N99,712,464.24 between 2013 and 2014 contravened Rule 236 of the Financial Regulations.
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 N23,642,000.00 from the Capital Projects Funds for purchase of Sallah/Christians welfare package to the staff of the Ministry.
The upper chamber queried the sums of N46,645,000.00 and N56,418,135.00 for the printing of the Ministry’s letter-headed paper and demanded that the sum be recovered and paid back to the treasury.
It also called for the identification of the Project Accountant who authorized the diversion of N32,783,052.00 meant for IPPIS training and other programmes to bank accounts of staff of Finance and Accounts Department, instead of paying the approved amounts to beneficiaries.
The Senate demanded the refund of the amount to government coffers, including the sum of N718,911,848.00 made in the cashbook as payments to eleven corporate bodies without documentation.
In addition, the chamber called on the Ministry to identify and present for disciplinary action, the officers behind the authorisation of N98,400,000.00 in favour of a company for printing of leaflets for the Petroleum Industry Bill awareness campaign Programme; N54,000,000.00 to a company for assessment and documentation of Oil Spill sites in ten (10) states of the Niger Delta; and N25,000,000.00 for actualising e-governance procedure.
The infractions, the Senate noted, were in violation of Rule 3117.
The Senate called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to prosecute within 30 days, the Officers in the Ministry of Youths and Sports (National Sports Commission) who certified the payment of N37,185,000.00 from the Capital Vote allocation.
It also directed that N2,695,985.00 be recovered from the emolument of the Director-General of the Small Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), who authorised that the sum is paid to individuals instead of a company’s account.
The Senate, accordingly, also demanded the prosecution of the Accounting Officer with SMEDAN who approved the sum of N38,038,238.14 without relevant and supporting documents in contravention to extant laws.
The Senate requested the Medical Director of the Jos University Teaching Hospital to refund the sum of N26,321,041.01; and the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta to pay back N19,382,047.50 to the Treasury.
Senator representing Sokoto East, Ibrahim Gobir said the report of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts be sent to the anti-graft agencies if the indicted agencies failed to comply with the Senate resolutions.
He said: “After going through the whole report, I discovered that there is going to be over N300bn to be recovered.
“My concern is whether these agencies can recover these monies or whether we have to send the report to the EFCC.”
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan in his ruling said the agencies would be given 60 days to refund the monies failure which the National Assembly could involve the anti-graft agencies.
“My advice will be, let us monitor the implementation. After the 60 days of grace, then we can take the next appropriate action
“If we go to the EFCC, it is okay but at this point, I think we should give them the opportunity.
“What is important is to ensure that we send these resolutions to the appropriate quarters for immediate implementation.”
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Audit report: Senate asks NNPC, NPA, BPE, 56 others to refund N300bn