Special Funds Account: N1.5trn 'Grossly Abused' In 10 Years, Senate Report Reveals

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, May 01, (THEWILL) – A Senate report on Tuesday revealed how successive administrations in the country between 2002 to date "grossly abused" N1,518,871,357,426 that accrued to the-Special Funds Account, which is managed by the Federal Government.

The fund belongs to the three tiers of government.

It is made up of the Development of Natural Resources Account; Derivation and Ecology Account and Stabilisation Account. Total accruals into the fund from the contributory accounts in the ten years under review were N873,400,023,790.9; N389,983,433,066.07 and N255,487,900,570.38 respectively.

The report is the outcome of an investigation carried out by the Senate Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The report, which was considered at plenary revealed that N580,019,682,738 was released on loan and a whopping N347,997,583,008.41 is yet to be recovered from various loan beneficiaries.

"...Several releases under the account were not related to the intendment of the account," the report stated.

The Senate however directed the committee to take back the report so as to enable it arrive at detailed information on beneficiaries of the loan and debtors.

The committee was given one month to do its job and report back to the Senate plenary.

Senate President, David Mark, said the executive's misapplication of the account over the years also amounted to an indictment on the National Assembly. He called for better oversight from legislative committees.

According to Mark, “The problem we have with these funds is that, apart from not having guidelines for them or any Act guiding the disbursements and the utilization, we also at the various committees or the committee responsible, are not taking enough pain, we just take it for granted that these funds exist and we can use them in any way and manner that whoever is operating it decides.

“I think that is truly an indictment on the National Assembly. You brought this up now, this is a wake-up call for the National Assembly to do its work properly because if we have been following this…it started in 2002. Since the Presidential order came into effect on the accounts, we have never really bothered about it.

“I think that overall, we share in the blame; both the legislature and the executive in these disbursements and my contribution at this point will be that the committee should go back and look at those who have paid back and those who have not paid back their loans. The report has not stated that. Those who have taken loans should be asked to pay back. All of us are displeased with what has happened here.”

The report in its seven-point finding as presented by Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ahmad Lawan, revealed that: "Several approvals of funds from the Special Funds Accounts did not conform to the purposes for which the fluids, were established.

"There are no operational guidelines for the administration, regulations, approvals and procedures for the release of money from the Funds.

"The Funds are practically being operated as loan granting pools.

"Several beneficiaries of the funds utilise the funds for purposes that are not contemplated by the intendment of the Funds.

"The socio-economic development and environmental integrity of Nigeria, are threatened, by the continuous misapplication of the monies from the Special Fund Accounts to unrelated purposes.

"Loans granted from the accounts have not been paid back several years after such loans were granted.

"There are no regular reconciliation between the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The report listed Abuses Under The Three Accounts to include:

1. Development of Natural Resources Account

Total Amount Released - N701,489,494, 960,61

Total Amount Abused - N701,489, 494,960,61

The abuses are as follows: (a) N612,276,016;65. Payment of JVC contribution deducted from Akwa Ibom grant between March and May, 2002

(b). N1, 300,000, 000,00 loan granted to Derivation Escrow Account on 24/7/2003.

(c) N50, 000,000,000.00 loan granted to finance deficit in year 2004 Fiscal Budget.

(d) N3,745, 505,000 loan granted Co Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs for purchase of a Chancery in Tokyo 25/I1/2004 and 30/12/2004.

(e) N864, 725,036.00 loan granted to National Health Insurance Scheme for ID Cards Production on 18/04/2005.

(f) N452, 218,449.70 loan granted to FGN as payment to ADB for purchase of shares on 09/09/2005

(g) 2, 000,000,000 loan granted for payment to Gitto Costruzioni General Nig. Ltd. On 19/09/2005

(h) N5,700,000,000 loan granted to Ministry of Power and Steel as of payment of disengagement benefit of Steel Workers on 15/11/2005.

(i) N14,988,625,000.02 loan granted to Federal Ministry of Water Resources for Gurara Water Project - 2nd Payment on 21/12/2005.

(j) N10,114,945,832 loan for payment of October-December 2005 Arrears of Monetized fringe benefit in all Federal Government Parastatals on 09/02/2006

(k) N11,000,000,000 loan to Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria - Aviation infrastructure intervention Fund Account to address the infrastructure problems in the Aviation Sector on 27/11/2006

(l) N20,000,000,000 loan to Federal Ministry of Works against 2007 Appropriation for the dualisation of Abuja-Lolcoja..Road and dualisation of Kano-Maiduguri Road on 28/12/2006.

(m) N15,000,000,000 loan to Federal Ministry of Works against 2007 Appropriation for the dualisation of East-West Roads on 18/01/2007

(n) N100,000,000,000 released for financing of 2nd Quarter Capital on 15/05/2007

(o) N10,114,945,832.00 payment of Arrears of Monetisation of Parastatals (October-December, 2005) on 21/08/2007.

(p) N70, 000,000,000.00 released to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR) as loan to accelerate capital budget releases on 1/9/2010.

2. Derivation and Ecology Account

Total Amount Released - 329,866,978,289.92
Total Amount Abused - N149,881,359,210

The abuses are as follows:
(a) N200,000 ,000 loan to the Presidential Research & Communications Unit on 09/11/2002

(b) N500,000,000 loan to Edo State Government on 17/11/2002

(c) N800,000,000.00 released for resurfacing of runway in Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano - through SGF Ecological Fund Account on 14/1/2003

(d) N10,000,000.00 released for carrying out the building of Abattoir in Bida, Niger State - through SGF Ecological Fund Account oh 04/03/2003.

(e) N500,000,000 Loan to Edo State Government on 25/3/2003

(f) N150,000,000 released to Nigerian Railway Corporation for the Iju- Ijoko Rail Dualisation Project - through SGF Ecological Fund Account

(g) N200,000, 000.00 released to Federal Ministry of Works for upgrading of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Lagos-Shagamu. Section to six lanes carriageway on 22/12/2004.

(h) N550,000,000 released to the Federal Ministry of Works for construction of 4 new bridges along Argungu-Bwi road and completion of Sokoto River Bridge at Argungu in Kebbi State in 10/05/2005.

(i) N7,468,800,000 loan to Nigerian Air Force through the Ministry of Defence's Capital Account for some projects.

(j) N1,982,834,723.63 released to the Federal Ministry of Works for the construction of new bridge at Idundun, Cross River State on 21/06/2006.

(k) N146,000,000 released to Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) on 10/11/2006.

(i) N1,000,000,000 released to Ogun State Government for the Construction of Badagry-Igboho Road (Atan-lsaga Section) on 27/04/2007

(m) N750,000, 000 released for Development of Abuja Downtown Mall on 04/01/2007

(n) N6,000, 000,000 released to FCDA for provision of engineering infrastructure to Kubwa/Karsbi Satellite towns on 23/3/2007, 13/08/2007, 08/05/2007 and 12/12/2007.

(o) N1,995,000,000 released to Katsina State Government as 50 percent Federal Government of Nigeria contribution to the project of upgrading Katsina Airport on 27/04/2007.

(p) N10,942,237,791.06 release to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) by Mr. President's approval for funding of the Budget 2009 appropriation act as revenue source.

3. Stabilisation Account

Total Amount Released-N255,487,9,00,570.38
Total Amount Abused - N191,780,136,241
The abuses are as follows: (a) N16,262,401,332.50 loan granted to Directorate of Pilgrim Affairs on 5/11/2003, 10/4/2004 and 29/09/2005.

(b) N10,845,000 payment to Trausvari Services Ltd for Nigerian Laws on Public Finance on 12/10/2004.

(c) N1,420,213,338,58 released to the Nigeria Customs Service as cost of Revenue Collection on 7/7/2005.

(d) N1,084,234,307.44 released to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on 7/7/2005.

(e) N10,000,000,000 loan to Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR) account on 12/30/2005

(f) N12,002,578,112.70 Loan granted to Ghana and San Tome & Principe on 22/09/2004 and 07/05/2007.

(g) N142,600,000 released to Gong Publishing Company as loans of debt owed by Local Government Councils (LGCs) on 26/09/2005

(h) Various loans totaling N309,208,000.30 granted to the Inspector-General of Police for purchase of vehicles for the UN Peace Keeping Operations in Haiti in 2006.

(i) N2,800,000,000 loan granted to pay Federal Government of Nigeria 50 per cent contribution to the Phase 1 of the Pioneer Car Finance Scheme for Public Servants in Paramilitary Agencies on 5/22/2007.

(j) N87,721,961,531 released to the Independent' National Electoral Commission (INEC) to commence the conduct of fresh voters registration exercise on 1/9/2010, 15/9/2010'and 13/10/2010

(k) N34,949,423,870.52 loan to Akwa Ibom and Delta ; States during implementation of 10 per cent derivation indices to oil producing States on 11/3/10

(l) N5,000,000, 000 released to the Federal Ministry of Aviation, National Identity Management Commission & National Judicial Council as approved by the Coordinating Minister for Economy and Honorable Minister of Finance on 12/09/2011.