The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in 2014 diverted N36.4 billion meant for the construction and rehabilitation of dams in Nigeria, and dubiously paid same to the Office of the National Security Adviser, a government audit has said.
Former NSA Sambo Dasuki is currently standing trial for alleged corruption, following revelations that his office diverted $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms for the fight against Boko Haram. Mr. Dasuki denies any wrong doing.
The funds, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, were instead distributed to government cronies and politicians ahead of the 2015 general elections. The bulk of the funds allegedly channelled through the NSA’s office for political purposes, came from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The 2014 federal audit report, presented to the National Assembly on Monday, said illicit payments also came from the state oil company, NNPC.
The report said N36.4 billion meant for the Ministry Water Resources for construction and rehabilitation of dams, was instead paid to the Office of the National Security Adviser under Mr. Dasuki.
It was unclear what the money sent to the NSA’s office was meant for.
The report indicted key Nigerian government offices, accusing them of illegally expending and refusing to pay over N3 trillion to the government’s purse.
The NNPC squandered about N3.3 trillion, failing to remit same to the government, the report said. The sum was the highest illegally spent by any government agency.
The report said N3.2 trillion oil revenue and $235.7 million gas sales proceeds, from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, were not paid to the Federation Account.
Rather, the gas proceeds were transferred to some “undisclosed Escrow Accounts”, and “relevant documents were not made available to the office of the Auditor General for verification”.
Several expenditures made by the state oil company during 2014 were extra-budgetary, the report added.
“The sum of N31, 324,952,239.87 was paid as subsidy on fertiliser and youth employment in agricultural programmes.
“Sum of N2, 894,531250.00 was spent on the procurement of hand sanitizers for schools and critical public places to tackle the Ebola epidemic.
“The sum of N2, 395,851,978.00 was payment for group Life Assurance Premium for Armed Forces budget in 2013, but not backed (by cash). The sum of N500, 000,000 was made as payment for agricultural programmes.
“These were variances with the purpose of the fund. No evidence of these lines of expenditure in the 2014 Appropriation Act,” the report said.
There was also a questionable purchase of a vessel from Singapore on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources for training at the Petroleum Training Institute, in Delta State.
“The cost of the purchase (of vessel) and how much was paid before the vessel was abandoned could not be ascertained due to the fact that the contract was awarded without the involvement of the Nigerian Mission in Singapore,” the report said.
National Assembly also indicted
The management of the National Assembly, headed by the Clerk, in 2014, made payments of N9.5 billion without raising payment vouchers, in violation of government financial regulations, the report disclosed.
Within five months in 2014, 112 staff received personal advances recurrent votes and another 50 got from general votes “for various purposes totalling N1.162, 009,305.00”.
Further, the Nigerian Prisons Service under the Ministry of Interior, “deducted Pay-As-You-Earn tax of N2, 036,758,176.75, but failed to remit the money to the Federal Inland Revenue Service”.
There was no evidence of remittance and nothing was produced for audit confirmation, the report said.
Ecological Funds Office, which is under the Presidency (Secretary General of the Federation), was also indicted.
The report said N3.8 billion was disbursed from the office to Ogun, Kebbi, Lagos and Sokoto States as grants but “despite repeated demands for payment vouchers they were not provided. We could not verify the nature of the grants”.
It also said AGF could not see evidence of Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and Haiti Government to build a school in the Central American nation following earthquake that hit the country.
Yet, USD 1.6 million was released for the project and there was no evidence of construction during inspection, the report said.[Premium Times]