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Business and EconomySenate indicts NPA, 38 others in N865bn fraud

Senate indicts NPA, 38 others in N865bn fraud

OrderPaperToday – The Senate has named the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) among top on a list of 39 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government which made illegal deductions to the tune of N865.44 billion for the period of January to December, 2015.
The Senate accordingly directed the NPA to refund $37.67 million, N67.5 billion, N1.07 billion, $2.3 million and 196, 257 respectively to the treasury.
These were part of the 59 recommendations adopted by the Senate on Wednesday when it received and considered the report of its Public Accounts Committee on the annual report of the Auditor-General of the Federation on the Accounts of the Federation for the years ended 31st December, 2015.
The upper chamber further directed the authority to refund another sum of $37,627,939.75million to the federal government coffers due to lack of diligence in the review of NPA’s charges on a contract of towage services.
“Other funds diverted by the NPA, 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 President, contrary to a directive approved by the Federal Executive Council on February 21, 2007 should be refunded”, said the Senate.
Recall that the NPA got in the eye of the storm recently following the suspension of its Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, over alleged financial infractions.
The upper chamber demanded the sanctioning of Accounting Officers of MDAs in accordance with the provision of Rule 3124 of Financial Regulations over unretired advances involving 39 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the tune of N2,296,567,084.37 billion.
It also directed the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, with a deadline of 90 days, to identify and sanction officers responsible for mismanagement of public funds to the tune of N54,151,360,000 billion ($274,280,000.00) as exchange loss on external loans.
It also mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to subject the Accounting Officers to investigation in accordance with Rule 3112 (I and II) of the Financial Regulations.
The Senate further directed 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 within 90 day.
“The source of the loans are from the Development of Natural Resources Account, Stabilization Fund Account, 25 percent Husked Brown Rice Levy, 1 percent Comprehensive Supervision Scheme (CISS) Pool Levy, 15 percent Wheat Grain Levy, and 10 percent Rice Levy”, the report stated.
The Senate resolved to demand a review of all companies that were paid from the out-flow of one percent CISS Account which amounted to N39,557,671,843.97.
Similarly, 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.
The upper chamber also demanded that the Director-General who authorized 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.
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 percent of its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) contravened the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
It further noted that the failure to remit capitalized interest to the Consolidated Revenue Fund totaling N99,712,464.24 between 2013 and 2014 contravened Rule 236 of the Financial Regulations.
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 authorized that the sum be 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.
In meting further disciplinary actions, the chamber called on the EFCC to prosecute within thirty days, officers of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading PLC (NBET) who were behind the non-remittance of accrued interest on investment in Nigeria Treasury Bills.
It also sought the prosecution of officers of the National Hospital, Abuja, and the Rural Electrification Agency within the same time frame, who were involved in the diversion of N20,915,998.00 and N14,086,246.00, respectively.
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.
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Abuja, is to remit the sums of N3,716,805,388.00, N100,958,369.61, N374,734,768.46 and N161,336,427.80 to the CRF and Treasury.
The Chamber also mandated EFCC, ICPC to go after government officials responsible for diverted funds
The Accountant General is expected to report back to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts within ninety days.
Ojochenemi Onje-James
Ojochenemi Onje-James
Ojochenemi Onje-James is a research writer and journalist with years of proven footprints in areas of crime and politics. She has M.Sc in International Relations and Strategic Studies; and B.Sc in Mass Communication.
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