ABUJA, Nigeria – In a sweeping indictment of Nigeria’s public sector, the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly has implicated the Accountant General of the Federation, the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, the Ministries of Finance, Justice, and 43 other Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, MDAs, over financial infractions.
Following the consideration of the 2017 and 2018 reports of the Auditor General of the Federation, the Senate has ordered the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, to recover $10 million paid for legal fees and technical charges without results to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF.
Senator Hassan Hadejia, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, addressed journalists on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, after the presentation of the reports. He revealed that the Committee has been able to submit four reports to the Senate, an unprecedented achievement since 1999.
The 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 reports of the Auditor General have all been submitted and considered by the Senate.
Hadejia also assured that the Committee will submit a bill seeking strict implementation of the National Assembly’s recommendations for Annual Federal Audit Reports and related matters (SB.117) by next week.
This move is expected to bolster the country’s fight against corruption.
Among the MDAs indicted in the 2017 and 2018 reports are the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Environment, the National Library, the Financial Reporting Council, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Mortgage Bank, and the Energy Commission. Others include the Nigerian Copyright Commission, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, the Ministry of Justice, the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Public Complaint Commission, the University of Uyo, the University of Abuja, the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, and the National Examination Council (NECO).
The Senate is directing NIMASA to recover $10 million, with $5 million for legal fees and an additional $5 million for technical charges. The $5 million represents five percent of the $9.3 billion Nigerian hydrocarbon loss between 2013 and 2014.
An unnamed law firm was hired to carry out necessary legal actions to enable NIMASA to perfect intelligence-based efforts to track Nigeria’s hydrocarbon global movement. The Auditor General of the Federation’s report disclosed that the funds were paid from a Zenith Bank (UK) dollar account.
Despite the substantial amount of money paid, the report states that “no evidence of recovery of either part or the entire sum of the 9.3 billion US Dollars was presented as of the time of the Periodic Check in February 2018.”
In response to these findings, the Senate has upheld the report of the committee, which indicts NIMASA and numerous other government agencies.