Revelations as Buhari gets ultimatum to probe ‘missing N300bn’
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given President Muhammadu Buhari 14 days to direct the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and anti-corruption agencies, to probe alleged missing N300billion public funds.
The body based its demand on the 2017 audited report by the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF).
The July 4, 2020 letter was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
It deplored that shocking revelations of mismanagement, diversion and stealing of public funds, as well as unaccounted-for spending.
Copied were Malami; Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); and Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance.
The rights group charged the President and all officials to act urgently act.
SERAP stated that the audit report suggests a grave violation of the public trust, and revealed that indicted Ministeries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)and the National Assembly lack effective and credible internal processes to prevent and combat corruption.
It was uncovered that the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) allegedly spent ₦25,856,279 on behalf of Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop online recruitment in April 2014 without any supporting memo from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and without due process.
Although the project was suspended, the Commission allegedly paid ₦25,856,279 for contract not executed. The AGF recommended the full recovery of the public funds.
The audit report said granted cash advances totalling ₦8,590,000 to 25 officials between February and December, 2016 but failed to retire or account for the money.
₦6,850,000 was allegedly paid for store items that were never supplied. Another ₦2,619,210 was spent without receipts. The AGF expressed concern that the money may have been misappropriated or stolen, and recommended the full recovery of public funds.
The report noted that ex-Chairman of the Commission whose tenure of office ended in May 2017, allegedly cornered four vehicles (1 Toyota Hilux, 1 407 Classic Peugeot, 1 Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep and 1 Toyota Corolla), despite the Monetization Policy of Government which states that all vehicles must not be taken away.
SERAP cited that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs failed to show any receipts for the payment of ₦4,385,230,763 between January and December 2016. The Ministry also had no insurance cover for all its motor-vehicles, despite the budgetary allocation of ₦11,805,802 for insurance premium.
The Ministry was found to have spent ₦105,000,000 to buy computer consumables, photocopy machine consumables, papers and other store items, contrary to official circular, and without any receipts. The AGF recommended the return of the money to the public treasury.
It allegedly expended ₦72,000,030 to improve power supply to the Ministry but the contract for this was not captured in the 2017 appropriation. Despite the purported spending, power supply to the Ministry has not improved.
₦7,520,000 was spent by 20 officials to visit 8 out-stations of the Ministry without due process and without any receipts. ₦234,622,718 was also spent but remained unretired or unaccounted for. The AGF recommended the full recovery of the funds.
It allegedly paid ₦83,719,500 to a company for the rehabilitation and re-integration of released Chibok girls in August, 2017 without any agreement between the Ministry and the contractor, and without any evidence of purchase of the back-to-school materials, and job completion certificate. The AGF recommended recovery.
Furthermore, the Ministry allegedly transferred a take-off grant of ₦83,317,257 for Consulate-General of Nigeria, Guangzhou to the personal account of the Ambassador of Nigeria in Rome in 2013 to be remitted to Guangzhou. But the money was never remitted to Guangzhou and has remained outstanding till date.
The Auditor-General expressed concern that the money may have been diverted and misappropriated, and recommended that the Ambassador of Nigeria in Rome whose account was used be asked to account for the money.
It was discovered that the Ministry of Justice disbursed ₦10,460,950,841 judgment debt in 2017 without due process. The committee to manage the funds was dissolved after 2013 financial year was not reconstituted as at the time of the 2016 and 2017 appropriations but funds were nonetheless disbursed.
₦32,353,693 was allegedly spent between March and September 2017 on international travels without approval or evidence of spending. The AGF recommended the full recovery.
At the National Assembly, the House of Representatives spent ₦95,212,250 without due process and without any receipts. The National Assembly Management Accounts also showed spending of N673,081,242 between April-October 2017 without any documents.
The Senate allegedly spent ₦1,364,816,397 to renovate a store at the National Assembly but the AGF was denied access to the store and records, thus expressing concerns that ‘public funds may have been diverted for unappropriated purposes.’ The AGF recommended that the Clerk of the National Assembly account for the sum.
The audit found that the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies misappropriated ₦67,296,478 as payments were made to unknown persons. The AGF recommended that the Director-General should fully recover the money and return it to the treasury.
For the Public Complaint Commission (PCC), ₦63,826,941 was allegedly spent to renovate State offices in Delta, Kwara, Akwa– Ibom, Taraba, Borno, Ekiti and Niger States without due process, valuation certificates, and without receipts. The AGF said that the money may have been diverted and recommended the full recovery.
Federal Ministry of Water Resources allegedly spent ₦343,957,350 without due process, receipts, and without any evidence of work done or services rendered. Also, ₦14,993,950 granted as cash advances to staff was not accounted for.
In this case, the AGF recommended that the Permanent Secretary is made to account for it.
Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, Makurdi allegedly misappropriated ₦42,277,285 of contract money for project management.
National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, allegedly paid a contractor ₦33,425,000 in March 2017 for awareness training but there was no evidence that the contract was executed. The AGF recommended that the Executive Director recover the money.
Cross-River Basin Development Authority, Calabar, allegedly overpaid a contractor to the tune of ₦10,387,490 for construction of Link Road between Cross River and Ebonyi State without any justification.
₦30,616,110 was allegedly spent for construction of erosion control works at Nguzu but remained unaccounted for. The AGF expressed concerns that the contractor may have received money for project not executed, and recommended that the Managing Director recover the money.
Lake Chad Research Institute, Maiduguri, Borno State failed to account for 2 Nos. Toyota Prado Jeeps which were purchased in 2013 and 2014 with registration No. 45KOIFG for one Jeep but the second Jeep was not registered, and no reason was given for this.
On this, the AGF expressed concerns that the Jeeps may have been diverted to private use, and asked the Executive Director to account for them.
National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna, allegedly paid ₦84,401,940 to a company on 4th May 2017, being 10% payment on the construction of a 2-story building for UNESCO without any existing contract, and without receipts. The AGF recommended recovery of the money.
Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, Abuja, allegedly paid ₦24,800,000 into a staff private account for production/prevention of the 2016 annual flood outlook (AFO) and without evidence of services performed. Another ₦31,439,300 was paid in September 2016 into the account of another staff for sensitization workshops. The AGF asked the Director-General to recover it.
Hadejia–Jama’are River Basin Development Authority, Kano State, allegedly paid ₦204,893,978 to contractors without any receipts. The Nigeria Institute for Oil Palm Research, Benin City, Edo State paid ₦210,921,849 and ₦30,010,963 without any receipts.
Another ₦15,630,050 cash advances to staff in 2017 was also not accounted for, as at 2018. The AGF expressed concerns that the money may have been mismanaged and asked the Accounting Officer to recover it.
Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) allegedly spent ₦393,254,000 to support security agencies without due process and without receipts. Another ₦362,481,173 was paid for the procurement of stores locally without due process.
The Auditor General expressed concerns that the money may be missing and asked the Permanent Secretary to recover it.
Ecological Funds Office allegedly misappropriated ₦1,257,791,992 meant for contract for Canalization and Desilting of OKOKO and Ogbagba Rivers in Osogbo Township, Osun state.
There was no evidence that ₦30,000,000 meant for compensation to owners of marked-to-demolish structures and economic trees affected by the project, received any payment. The AGF asked the Permanent Secretary to recover the fund.
Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation allegedly paid ₦301,984,103 for projects without accounting for it. ₦36,641,528 was also paid for seminars, conferences and workshops without any receipts.
It was similarly, discovered that ₦16,096,712 was spent on projects not executed. The AGF wants the the Permanent Secretary to recover it.
Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, allegedly spent ₦830,267,951 as Special Presidential Needs Assessment Phases I and II to the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Warri, for the Construction of Building, Procurement of Laboratory Equipment and Capacity Building/Staff training but the funds were misapplied.
₦190,495.824 was approved for a project to construct and furnish workshop and laboratory but the contractor was paid ₦199,324,657 and without any evidence of request by the contractor.
The University also allegedly spent ₦990,621,753 to construct and furnish a 3-storey, 4-floor structure Student Residential Building Complex but the contract for the spending was awarded without due process.
Only a 2-storey, 3-floor building found constructed. Several other infractions are documented in the report. The AGF expressed concerns that the money may have been diverted and asked the Vice-Chancellor to account for it.
National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion allegedly spent ₦2,270,000 for a 2-day workshop but without any receipts. The AGF asked the Director-General to recover the money. The Nigerian Railway Corporation failed to remit ₦122,242,337 in taxes to the authorities.
National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) allegedly paid ₦20,569,398 for supply of Power System Simulator without evidence of supply. It gave ₦6,187,393 as cash advances to 17 officers which remained unaccounted for.
Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) allegedly paid ₦3,604,000 for the services of solicitors without the consent of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The report uncovered that another payment of ₦13,542,822 for the completion of machine tools workshop was made without contract agreement or receipts.
In total, ₦126,533,197 was paid without contract agreement or receipts. The AGF expressed concerns that the funds may have been misappropriated and asked the Managing-Director to recover the money.
National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) allagedly paid ₦4,931,475,094 as cash advances to staff without due process. ₦72,383,000 was also supposedly paid for verification exercise but the AGF found no evidence that the verification took place.
Another ₦31,478,400 was purportedly paid for accreditation of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) but again the AGF found no evidence of this.
National Information Technology Development Agency alllagedly (NITDA) paid ₦28,525,000 to a Security company for the production of procurement manuals for the Agency.
It was revealed how 300 copies of the manual were produced although only 5 copies were needed, with a copy of the manual costing ₦95,083. The agency also paid ₦15,842,970 printer tonners.
The SERAP letter added that are several other infractions documented in the report, a copy of which can be obtained from the Auditor-General’s office.