By Salim Yunusa

The upper chamber of the National Assembly has disclosed that 59 federal government agencies will refund over N300 billion misappropriated funds into the federation account.

This is as all monies illegally spent by the erring agencies between 2013 to 2015, are to be recovered and remitted into the Treasury within 60 days.

This development followed the Senate 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 Ii &1).

Recall that for over one year the Senate Committee had been investigating expenditures of federal government agencies from 2015 – 2018 based on audit report by the Auditor-General for the Federation.

In his presentation, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide from Edo PDP, revealed that 114 MDAs were queried in the 2015 audit report, out of which 59 had their queries sustained after the probe.

According to him, the Committee also observed across the board, the incessant violation of extant rules by MDAs.

In its observation, the report of the Committee, which was obtained by Daily Independent, showed that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) misappropriated N995m; Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs N1.77 billion; Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) N68.9 billion, $2.3 million and €196,000.

This is as the following agencies are indicted with misappropriating different sums.

The agencies include – the Nigeria Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) N4.35 billion; Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) N8.84 billion; Ministry of Petroleum Resources N821.9 million; National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) N1.88 billion and Mortgage Bank N369 million.

The report also disclosed that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs disposed 22 vehicles to various beneficiaries in May 2015 and realized N5, 215,500.

Out of the 22 vehicles, eight were purchased on 23 June, and 18 August 2014 for N106, 560,000 and duly paid for. Less than one year after the acquisition, six of the vehicles costing N90, 870,000 were sold at a ridiculous sum of N2, 172,600.

The Senate, therefore, ordered the sum of N61,436,400.00 being the understated disposable value of the vehicles be recovered and paid back to the treasury within 60 days.

It directed that the sum of N4.8 million should be recovered from the statutory allocation of the Ministry after it awarded a contract of N46.4 million and granted tax waiver to the company without recourse to the tax provision of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

The Senate also asked the ministry to remit the sum of N1.7 billion to the FIRS being the balance of the unremitted outstanding Withholding Task WHT and Value-Added Tax (VAT).

According to the report, the NHIS invested N122, 893,876,023 in a fixed deposit account without the approval of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

It alleged that the interest yield amounting to N3, 716,805, 388.00 realized by the agency was not remitted the to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The Senate panel in its recommendations upheld the submissions of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) that the agency should refund N3,716,805, 388.00 to the CRF within 60 days.

The agencies have until 60 days from July 14 to refund and return the monies to the federation account.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, warned that the National Assembly would involve the anti-graft agencies.

Lawan said: “My advice will be, let us monitor the implementation. After the 60 days of grace, then we can take the next approximate 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,” he stated.

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