N665bn Diversion: Senate fingers Jonathan, Sambo, Others; directs Accountant General to refund within 60 days or risk arrest




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By Chibuike Nwabuko.

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Nigerian Senate has directed the Accountant General of the Federation, to refund the N665billion illegally withdrawn from the Solid Minerals Development Fund and Stabilisation Fund within 60 days or risk arrest.

The audit query raised by the Auditor General which the Senate relied on also revealed that the erstwhile President Dr Goodluck Jonathan and his Vice, Namadi Sambo got about N1.5 billion from the money as entitlement on June 11 2015.

Other beneficiaries from the said fund are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Ministry of Power; Nigerian Army; among others.

The Committee posited that the fund which meant for Solid Minerals Development Fund and Stabilisation Fund were disbursed to ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It also revealing further that INEC collected about N20billion from Development of Natural Resources Funds, apart from the N17billion.

Detailing how the money disbursed, the panel said: “N30bn was released to INEC for the conduct of the 2015 general elections, N10bn was released on July 3, 2014, while N20bn was released on January 12, 2015.

Other beneficiaries of the diverted funds were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, N3.6bn; N50billion to fund deficit in 2004; Ministry of Works, N20billion; Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, N13billion; Ministry of Sports, N500million; monetisation arrears due to Power Holding Company of Nigeria’s staff, N57.5billion; N70billion to accelerate capital budget in 2010; loan to facilitate the funding of capital budget in 2010, N80billion; loan to facilitate 2013 capital budget, Fourth Quarter, N80.7billion; and loan to Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, N6billion, in 2014.”

Also, N15billion released to Lucius Nwosu as judgment out of N37billion for genocide at Odi; N14billion released to Ministry of Power for Kasshibilla Hydropower Transmission Projects, among others.

From the Stabilisation Fund, N847million given to and Sao Time Pricipe, while INEC also collected N87billion to commence the conduct of fresh voter registration. It paid back N21billion and is yet to balance N66.7billion.

In addition, N32billion for the completion of Third Quarter and Fourth Quarter of 2013’s capital projects; N2billion for the funding of army in 2013; another N3billion loan to INEC for the speed-up of electoral process in 2013; loan to Nigerian Army for recruitment of 9,000 in 2013, N3.5billion, among others.

The Auditor-General in the query on depletion of the special funds had said, “Amounts totalling N455billion were withdrawn from Development of Natural Resources as loans to various beneficiaries between 2004 and 2015, contrary to the established objectives of the funds.

“Also, various amounts totalling N210.3billion were withdrawn from Stabilisation Fund as loans to various beneficiaries between 2004 and 2015, contrary to the established objectives of the funds.

The Senate, after consideration and adoption of its Committees on Public Accounts report, ordered the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure refund within 60 days or face arrest.