Tunde Opalana, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerian Army, and Office of National Security Adviser among others have been indicted of collecting N76 billion illegally from Office of Accountant General.
These agencies of government were indicted by the Senate following the adoption of the report of its Committee in Public Accounts, chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide
The funds were drawn from 25 percent Husked Rice Levy, 1 Percent Comprehension Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) Pool levy, 15 percent wheat Grain Levy and 10 percent Rice Levy by Office of Accountant General of the Federation to these agencies illegally which were never repaid back.
This was revealed in a 2015 Auditor General report which was submitted by the committee and approved by the Senate.
According to the report of the Auditor General, N922.4 million was withdrawn from 25 percent Husked Brown Rice Levy as loan and N7 billion was also collected from 1 percent CISS levy as loan and N10 billion as loan to INEC to finance the 2015 elections.
The record revealed that the money totaling N17.92 billion was released to INEC as loans on 12 January, 2015, which was never repaid back to the source.
Also from 15 percent wheat grain levy, an amount totaling N31.4 billion was released to Nigerian Army, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Revitalization of Universities Infrastructures Account and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
From the N31.4 billion, Nigerian Army collected N4.7 billion to fund some of their activities, NYSC collected N6.4 billion to also fund their activities and passing out of orientation camp, Revitalization of Universities Infrastructures Account collected N10 billion for funding of Federal Universities, and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development collected N10.2 billion to fund execution of 2013 dry season farming.
Furthermore, loan from Rice Levy account which is about N37.4 billion was given Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Office of National Security Adviser, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Communication Satellite Operation (NIGCOSAT), INEC, NELMCO.
From the N37.4 billion, INEC collected N10 billion, NIGCOSAT- N450 million, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity N5 billion to pay the allowance of unskilled youths in Public works programme, ONSA – N3.5 billion, Ministry of Defence – N428 million, Revitalization of Universities Infrastructures Account- N5.3bn.
Findings revealed the funds were never approved by the National Assembly before the office of Accountant General released the funds to the agencies.
The Senate therefore ordered the Office of Accountant General of the Federation to set a motion the process of recovery of the loans and pay back to Special Funds Accounts and ensure the stoppage of further withdrawal from any of these Accounts without the approval of the National Assembly.
The query from Auditor General of the Federation reads: “It was observed from 2014 audited account that mandate No FD/LP2014/57/1/82/DF dated 12th of January, 2015 amounting to N922.4 million was withdrawn from 25 percent Husked Brown Rice Levy as Loan given to INEC to finance 2015 elections.
“The loan is contrary to the purpose which the fund was established which to help local production brown rice in Nigeria.
Another query also reads: “It was observed from the 2014 audited Accounts that audited account that mandate No FD/LP2014/57/1/82/DF dated 12th of January, 2015 amounting to N7 billion was withdrawn from 1 Percent Comprehension Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) Levy as loan to INEC to finance 2015 elections.
“The loan is contrary to the purpose for which the fund was created which is to fund the destination Inspection Service Providers as provided in the law because they are not paid from annual budget.’