ABUJA, Nigeria – The Senate on Monday, June 5, 2023, has indicted the Office of Accountant General of the Federation for failing to repay short-term loans totalling N910 billion given to various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, from special funds accounts.
This was uncovered during an investigation by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide of Edo South.
The committee was reviewing the Auditor General’s 2017 report.
According to the query, the short-term loans and debts arose from Special Funds Accounts, totalling N910,039,557,742.
The balance remained unpaid throughout the year, contrary to the design of these loans as short-term instruments.
In its response, the Office of the Accountant General claimed that it had written numerous letters to the then Minister of Finance to authorize the settlement of the loans granted against allocations to various MDAs.
The Accountant General’s Office also noted that it had requested the inclusion of loan repayment in the 2017 budget.
The committee observed that the executive had continuously abused these special funds, making withdrawals for political expediency that were unrelated to the intended purpose of the funds.
The report stated, “There is continuous abuse of the special funds by the executive as the withdrawals are continually made for political expediency outside the purpose for which the funds were meant.”
Consequently, the Senate has ordered the Accountant General of the Federation to recover all outstanding loans and present evidence of this recovery to both the Auditor General and the Senate Public Accounts Committee within 60 days.
In related news, the Senate, after considering the report, instructed the Executive Chairman of the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to account for payments made to financially incapable companies, contrary to extant rules.
The chairman failed to appear before the committee to defend allegations of payment without due process.