• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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‘FG misapplied N1.04trn special fund in 10 years’

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The Senate Committee on Public Accounts alleged on Tuesday that the Federal Government misapplied N1.04 trillion from the Special Funds Accounts (SFA) to unrelated purposes.

The committee’s finding is contained in a report on the status inquiry into the SFA, which was presented at the floor of the Senate in Abuja.

According to the report, former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime accounted for N498,378,985,481.22, while the present administration of President Goodluck Jonathan accounts for N197,671,385,401.52.

Presenting the report, Ahmed Lawan (ANPP-Yobe), chairman, Senate Public Accounts Committee, said the infractions were made between 2002 and June 2012.

Lawan said that several approvals of funds from the SFA during the period did not conform to the purposes for which the funds were established.

The SFA was established in 2002 as an interventionist fund for the development of the solid minerals sector, ecology and other critical areas of the economy.

The SFA, managed by the Federal Government, comprises the three percent Development of Natural Resources Account, 1.46 percent Derivation and Ecology Account, and 0.72 percent Stabilisation Account.

Those deductions came from the federation account, said the report.

According to the report, N1.51 trillion accrued to the SFA as at June 30, 2012, from figures obtained from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF).

Out of the amount, N1.23 trillion was recorded as total payments to beneficiaries from the account, the report said.

However, the report noted that the operation of the natural resources, ecology and stabilisation accounts were grossly abused.

It said several releases under this account were not related to the intendment of the account.

On natural resources account, the report detailed 16 abuses under this account, which amounted to N701.4 billon in 10 years, representing 100 percent of the total amount released under the period.

Some of the infractions included a N2 billion loan granted for payment to Gitto Costruzioni General Nigeria Limited on September 19, 2005.

Also the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs was granted a loan of N3.7 billion in 2004 to purchase a chancery in Tokyo.

Ostensibly, the loan to the ministry came from the account that was meant to assist states develop alternative mineral resources to oil and gas.

In other infractions to the natural resources account, the report noted that N5.7 billion loan was granted to the Ministry of Power and Steel in 2005 for the payment of severance package to disengaged steel workers.

Similarly, in October 2007, the Ministry of Finance also withdrew N10 billion for the payment of arrears of monetisation benefits owed Federal Government parastatals.

On the ecology account, the report said that out of N329.8 billion released during the period under review, N149.8 billion was abused, representing 45 percent.

The report revealed that N750 million was released for the development of the Abuja Downtown Mall in 2007 from the fund meant to assist states ravaged by ecological problems.

Also misappropriated from the ecological funds was a N1 billion loan to Edo State government, released in November 2002 and March 2003, respectively.

The Presidential Research and Communication Unit also received N200 million loan from the ecological fund in November 2002.

On the stabilisation account, created to provide for unforeseen contingencies and economic downturn, the report noted that N191.7 billion from the account was misapplied.