…To refund within 60 days or face arrest
A fresh discovery has been made by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, headed by Senator Mathew Uroghide, that the sum of N665 billion was diverted by former President Goodluck Jonathan and his deputy, Namadi Sambo.
Other beneficiaries from the said fund are the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC); Ministry of Power; Nigerian Army; among others.
The Committee relied on the audit queries by the Auditor-General for the Federation, which revealed that about N1.5 billion part of the money was paid as an entitlement on June 11 2015 to the ex-President and his then vice-president.
The Committee posited that the fund was meant for Solid Minerals Development Fund and Stabilisation Fund to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) of the Federal Government, revealing further that INEC collected about N20bn from Development of Natural Resources Funds, apart from the N17.9bn collected from other sources.
Detailing how the money was disbursed, the panel said: “N30bn was released to INEC for the conduct of the 2015 general elections, N10bn was released on July 3, 2014, while N20bn was released on January 12, 2015.
Other beneficiaries of the diverted funds were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, N3.6bn; N50bn to fund deficit in 2004; Ministry of Works, N2bn; Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, N13bn; Ministry of Sports, N500m; monetisation arrears due to Power Holding Company of Nigeria’s staff, N57.5bn; N70bn to accelerate capital budget in 2010; loan to facilitate the funding of capital budget in 2010, N80bn; loan to facilitate 2013 capital budget, Fourth Quarter, N80.7bn; and loan to Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, N6bn, in 2014, amongst others.
The Auditor-General, in the query on depletion of the special funds, had said, “Amounts totalling N455bn were withdrawn from Development of Natural Resources as loans to various beneficiaries between 2004 and 2015, contrary to the established objectives of the funds.
“Also, various amounts totalling N210.3bn were withdrawn from Stabilisation Fund as loans to various beneficiaries between 2004 and 2015, contrary to the established objectives of the funds.
The Senate, after consideration and adoption of its Committees on Public Accounts, ordered the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure a refund within 60 days or face arrest.