From Fred Itua, Abuja
Fresh facts have emerged on how the Office of Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) allegedly diverted N87 billion from Solid Mineral Development Funds and Stabilisation Funds to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ministry of Power, Army, among others.
Senate Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Matthew Urhoghide in its investigation said it discovered that many government agencies benefited from funds illegally diverted from OAGF.
It said investigations showed the entitlements of former President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo, which is about N1.5 billion, paid on June 11, 2015 from the funds.
The committee also discovered that the 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.
About N30 billion was also released for INEC for the conduct of 2015 general elections; while N10 billion was released on July 3, 2014, N20 billion was released to INEC on January 12, 2015 for the conduct of general elections .
Listed as also benefiting from the illegally diverted Solid Mineral Development Funds are Ministry of Foreign Affairs, N3.6 billion; 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 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, N6 billion in 2014.
In addition, N15 billion was released to Lucius Nwosu as judgement debt of N37 billion for the genocide at Odi while N14 billion was released to Ministry of Power for Kasshibilla Hydropower Transmission Projects, among others .
From the stabilisation fund, N847 million was given to Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also collected N87 billion to commence the conduct of fresh voters registration, but paid back N21 billion and 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 of electoral process in 2013, loan to Army for recruitment of 9,000 recruit in 2013 of N3.5 billion.
The Senate Committee in its consideration of the report of Senate Public Accounts Committee ordered the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure refund of the monies within 60 days.
“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,” it said.
The Auditor General report in its query against depletion of Special Funds had said, “Amount totalling 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.”