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A former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been blamed by the Senate ad hoc committee on alleged misuse, under-remittance and other fraudulent activities for the loss of N1.7tn.
The lawmakers in a report on Monday, October 23, stated that the former minister was to blame for the failure of agencies to remit revenue to the tune of N1.7tn generated between 2012 and 2016, The Punch reports.
The panel which was chaired by Senator Olamilekan Adeola, said the amount that was to be remitted to the federal government during the period by 93 agencies it investigated was N21.5tn.
The committee claimed that 25 of the 93 agencies covered defrauded the government of a total of N1,695,585,887,406.
The panel said the failure of the agencies to remit the sum to the government was sequel to a directive from Okonjo-Iweala in a memo dated November 11, 2011, with reference number BO/RVE/12235/259/VII/201, where the former minister asked them “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”.
The report said during the period, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), ran at a deficit of N3.1tn, while the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) which generated N335.855bn, failed to remit N83.963bn.
The report also indicted the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which generated N455.5bn of failing to remit N33.83bn. The panel said, the Nigerian Ports Authority reportedly remitted N86.636bn to the consolidated revenue fund when it generated N789.104bn. Other agencies indicted by the panel for failing to remit revenue to the government are the Central Bank of Nigeria, which remitted N13.716bn out of N3.098tn; NIMASA, N184.489bn out of N301.160bn; Nigerian Television Authority, N5.567bn out of N56.817bn.
The report read in part: “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) a (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.
“The Senate should also amend the laws where necessary to make it mandatory for all revenue generating agencies to accommodate resident treasury officers to be posted by the Accountant General of the Federation that will have access to all financial records and books.”
Meanwhile, Oil prices rose on Monday, October 23, over supply concerns in the Middle East and as the U.S. market showed further signs of tightening while demand in Asia keeps rising. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at 57.84 dollars. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at 52.03 dollars per barrel.
NAN reports that the amount of U.S. oil rigs drilling for new production fell by seven to 736 in the week to Oct. 20, the lowest level since June, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday. RIG-OL-USA-BHI.