The senate has directed the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to refund the sum of $37.67 million to the federal government coffers over alleged lack of diligence in the review of the agency’s charges on a contract of towage services.
The upper chamber noted that the non-remittance of N67.51 billion 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 added that the failure to remit capitalised interest to the CRF, “totalling” N99.71 million, between 2013 and 2014 contravened Rule 236 of the Financial Regulations.
In May 2021, the senate committee on finance had invited heads of 60 government-owned firms, including the ports authority, to explain the failure to remit various funds running into about N3 trillion to the federal government’s account.
In a statement signed by Ezrel Tabiowo, special assistant (press) to the senate president, on Wednesday, the upper chamber mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the accounting officer under Rule 3112 (I and II) of the Financial Regulations.
The senate demanded that the director-general who 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 (FEC) approval to be reported to President Muhammadu Buhari under Rule 3103 of the Financial Regulations.
It also demanded NPA to refund diverted funds of N1.08 billion, $2.30 million (N946.35 million), and €196,257.42 (N94.90 million) meant for the presidential implementation committee on marine safety and security (PICOMSS) to the account of the National Security Adviser (NIA) to the president.
The senate said the funds were diverted contrary to a directive approved by FEC on February 21, 2007.
These are part of the 59 recommendations adopted by the Senate on the annual report of the auditor-general for the year ended 31st December 2015.
SANCTION FOR ACCOUNTING OFFICERS IN 36 MDAs
On unretired advances involving 39 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to the tune of N2,296,567,084.37 billion, the upper chamber demanded the sanctioning of accounting officers of MDAs in accordance with the provision of rule 3124 of financial regulations.
It also called on the accountant-general of the federation, Ahmed Idris, a deadline of 90 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 within ninety days.
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 is 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.
AGF TO RECOVER TAX REVENUE FROM WEBB FONTAINE LTD
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 percent CISS Account, which amounted to N39,557,671,843.97.
SANCTION OF PERMANENT SECRETARY
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 printing 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 authorization 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 actualizing e-governance procedure.
The infractions, the senate noted, were in violation of rule 3117.
EFCC TO PROSECUTE OFFICERS AT MINISTRY OF YOUTHS & SPORTS
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.
SMEDAN DG TO REFUND N2.6 MILLION
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 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.
EFCC TO PROSECUTE NBET, TEACHING HOSPITAL OFFICERS
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.
Accordingly, while directing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Abuja, 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.