The Senate has mandated the office of the Accountant General of the Federation to set machinery in motion for the refund of amounts totalling N76billion from certain Federal Government agencies being loan released to those agencies by the Accountant General of the Federation without Appropriation by the National Assembly.
This formed part of the recommendations of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide which was upheld by the Senate.
Checks revealed that the Senate Committee investigation was sequel to the 2015 Auditor General report which found the agencies guilty of financial recklessness.
Amongst the agencies which benefitted from the “loans” which were never refunded were the Office of National Security Adviser, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) and the Nigerian Army.
A breakdown revealed that the funds were drawn by the Office of Accountant General of the Federation, from 15 per cent wheat Grain Levy, 10 per cent Rice Levy, 25 per cent Husked Rice Levy, 1 Percent Comprehension Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) Pool levy.
According to the Auditor General’s report, further breakdown showed that N922.4 million was withdrawn from 25 per cent Husked Brown Rice Levy as Loan and N7 billion was also collected from 1 per cent CISS levy as loan and N10 billion as loan to INEC to finance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.
Total fund released to INEC as loans on January 12, 2015, which was never repaid to the source amount to N17.92 billion.
The report revealed that from 15 per cent wheat grain levy, an amount totalling N31.4 billion, Nigerian Army collected – N4.7 billion to fund some of their activities; National Youth Service Corps 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.
The report further revealed that from the Rice Levy account which is about N37.4 billion, INEC collected N10 billion; the Nigerian Communication Satellite Operation (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.
The Senate which maintained that the money was released without Appropriation by the National Assembly mandated the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure refund and directed the stoppage of further withdrawal from any of these Accounts without the approval of the National Assembly.
The query from 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 to help local production of 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 Percent 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.”
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