Senate exposes how INEC, Army, NSA, others collected N76bn from Accountant-General ‘s office illegally

The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly has exposed how the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Nigerian Army, Office of National Security Adviser and others collected N76 billion from the Office of Accountant-General of the  Federation, (OAGF), illegally.

The revelation was contained in the 2015 Auditor-General report, which was submitted by the Senate Public Accounts Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, and approved by the Senate.

The funds were drawn from 25 percent Husked Rice Levy, 1% Comprehension Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) Pool levy, 15% wheat Grain Levy and 10% Rice Levy by the OAGF to these agencies illegally, which were never repaid.

According to the report of the Auditor-General, N922.4 million was withdrawn from 25% Husked Brown Rice Levy as loan and N7 billion was also collected from the 1% CISS levy as loan, and N10 billion as loan to INEC to finance the 2015 Elections.

The record revealed that the money, totalling N17.92 billion, was released to INEC as loans on January 12, 2015, which was never repaid to the source.

Also, from 15% wheat grain levy, an amount totalling N31.4 billion was released to the Nigerian Army, National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC), Revitalisation of Universities Infrastructures Account and Federal Ministry of Agric and Rural Development.

From the N31.4 billion, Nigerian Army collected – N4.7 billion to find 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 Agric and Rural Development – N10.2 billion to fund execution of 2013 dry season farming.

Furthermore, a loan from the Rice Levy account, which is reportedly about N37.4 billion, was given to the 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 N10bn, NIGCOSAT- N450m, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity- N5 billion to pay the allowance of unskilled youths in Public works programme, ONSA – N3.5bn, Ministry of Defence – N428m, Revitalisation of Universities Infrastructures Account- N5.3bn.

Findings revealed the funds were never approved by the National Assembly before the OAGF released the funds to the agencies.

The Senate, therefore, ordered the OAGF to set a motion the process of recovery of the loans and payback to Special Funds Accounts and ensure the stoppage of further withdrawal from any of these accounts without the approval of the National Assembly.

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