The Senate ad hoc committee investigating alleged misuse of funds, under-remittance and other fraudulent activities in government revenue generating agencies has unearthed how government revenue generating agencies shortchanged the government of over N21.5 trillion between 2012 and 2016.
The committee has also initiated moves to amend relevant laws to make it mandatory that these agencies accommodate resident treasury officers to be posted by the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure accountability.
The officers are expected to have access to all financial records and books of the agencies.
The committee explained that 25 of the 93 agencies so far covered defrauded the government of N1,695,585,887,406 (approx N1.7 trillion) as unremitted revenue generated between 2012 and 2016. The report added that the estimated amount yet to be remitted to the Federal Government during the period by the 93 agencies it is investigating was N21.5 trillion.
The committee said the agencies followed the guidelines of a memo allegedly issued by a former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to the agencies to remit 25 per cent of revenue they generated to the Federal Government and spend 75 per cent for their activities.
This was contained in an interim report by the committee chaired by Olamilekan Adeola, which was laid before the Senate last week Thursday, a copy of which was sighted by our correspondent on Monday.
The former minister could not be immediately reached for comments.
The Senate committee said the agencies chose to (illegally) comply with a directive by Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala via a memo dated November 11, 2011, with Reference Number BO/RVE/12235/259/VII/201 by the former minister “to remit 25 per cent only from the revenue generated and use the remaining 75 per cent, which is a clear violation of Section 120 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 as well as the establishment acts of some of these institutions.”
It alleged that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, generated N15.541 trillion, while its entire expenditure during the period was N18.657 trillion, exceeding the corporation’s revenue profile by N3.115 trillion.
The committee, in the report, said the NNPC operated at a deficit of N3.1 trillion, while the Nigeria Customs Service, which generated N335.855 billion, failed to remit N83.963 billion during the period under review.
The report also indicted the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, which generated N455.5 billion but allegedly failed to remit N33.83 billion.
Also, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA reportedly remitted N86.636 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund when it generated N789.104 billion.
Other defaulting agencies it listed include the Central Bank of Nigeria, remitting N13.716 billion out of N3.098 trillion; NIMASA, N184.489 billion out of N301.160 billion and Nigerian Television Authority, N5.567 billion out of N56.817 billion.
Part of the report reads: “Most of the revenue generating agencies deny the Auditor General of the Federation access to their financial books and records, which is in conflict with Section 125, Subsection (3) and (i and ii); and Subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“Consequently, the committee recommends as follows: that the Senate should amend the laws where necessary to make it mandatory for all revenue generating agencies to accommodate resident auditors to be posted by the Auditor General of the Federation that will have access to all financial records and books, and to ensure compliance with Section 120(i) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“The Fiscal Responsibility Act should be amended in a way to compel all agencies and institutions of government on compliance with financial regulations regarding income generation, accounting and remittances.”
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