Some ex-ministers who served under the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan as well as some serving and ex-permanent secretaries and directors of budget and finance in charge of revenue-generating Ministries Departments and Agencies will face investigation from the Economic and Financial Crimes.
The fresh investigation surfaced after a report credited to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, that the Federal Government was committed to a thorough investigation and prosecution of all officials of the agencies indicted in the audit report, which recently revealed that N450bn was not accounted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account.
The unremitted amount involving about 33 revenue-generating agencies of government, was for the 2010 to 2015 fiscal period which falls under the Jonathan administration. The agencies involved are the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, National Health Insurance Scheme, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and Nigerian Communications Commission, Nigerian Postal Service, National Information Technology and Development Agency, Nigerian Television Authority, Bureau of Public Enterprises, National Pension Commission and Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc.
Furthermore, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria are also listed as agencies involved.
According to the EFCC, Interrogation of the concerned officers will begin this week for the majority of whom served between 2010 and 2015.
In a statement credited to a source at the EFCC, The Commission will invite the permanent secretaries of some of the agencies because they are the chief accounting officers. The directors of finance and budget in some of these agencies while the ministers that are believed to have approved such spending will also be invited. “We discovered that many of these scrupulous practices had existed for long but never received much attention from the Federal Government due to the influx of excess oil money during the previous administration. Now that the Federal Government is cooperating fully with us, we will look into the matter thoroughly.”
“Many agencies have never paid any money and never generated any operating surplus including some whose salaries, overheads and capital are paid by the Federal Government. In addition to that, they generate revenue which they spend and do not account for.”
The EFCC further stated that many of the heads of the agencies were already under investigation or were already being prosecuted. Accordingly, a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi, and some directors of the agency were already being prosecuted for an alleged N34.5bn fraud.
The source at the EFCC said, “We understand that the money which was meant to be deposited into the Consolidate Revenue Fund Account was diverted while agencies were making extra-budgetary expenses. In some instances, such was done in the collusion with the ministers.
“The public is aware that a former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, gave approval to the NCAA to spend N255m on two cars. We have already charged her.’’
The National Assembly had argued that the 31 agencies listed as revenue-generating had their budgets covered in secrecy which had let to abuse. The case of the NCAA, where the purchase of the two vehicles for Oduah was not listed in the budget by the agency. The ministry in its own budget had no plan to purchase any car for the minister or other officials in the first place.
Oduah’s spokesman, Joe Ibi, had told In an interview asserted that the cars were purchased as a security measure to protect Oduah from “imminent threats” caused by the minister’s radical reforms in the aviation industry. The secrecy of the budget had ostensibly helped NCAA and others spend liberally with little or no oversight. All the funds used by the NCAA were internally generated from charges on airlines, passengers and fines etc as stipulated by the Civil Aviation law.
According to the National Assembly Budget and Research Office, The agency is reported to have raised N35.3bn and spent all of it on its internal needs between 2009 and 2012, Adeosun further said, “Some agencies have never credited the Consolidated Revenue Fund despite having salary, capital and overhead (expenditures) funded by the Federal Government. Indeed, their cost to income rates of 99.8 per cent has been the average, meaning that they spend all their internally generated revenue and subventions released to them.”