By Kingsley Okoye
The Senate on Wednesday at plenary faulted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over alleged under-remittance of N3.8 trillion revenue from domestic crude oil sales to the Federation Account between January and December 2015.
It therefore urged the corporation to desist from further deduction at source, as the practice contravened Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
It also mandated the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) or any other approving authority to urgently approve agreed percentage which should be allocated to NNPC monthly, as operational cost to prevent its operations from been affected adversely.
Senate’s decision was sequel to the adoption of 59 recommendations contained in the report of its Committee on Public Accounts on the Annual report of the Auditor-General for the Federation on the Accounts of the Federation for the year ended Dec. 31, 2015.
Senate also noted that the outstanding revenue collection from Solid Minerals not remitted to the Federation Account, but kept in an account maintained by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in contravention of provisions of Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
It urged FAAC to fix a percentage to be allocated to Mining and Cadastral Office as cost of collection, as was currently applicable to Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) seven per cent, Department of Petroleum Resource’s (DPR ) four per cent and FIRS four per cent of non-oil revenue.
On unretired advances involving 39 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the tune of N2.2 billion, the upper chamber demanded the sanctioning of Accounting Officers of the affected MDAs in accordance with the provision of Rule 3124 of Financial Regulations.
It gave the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, a deadline of 90 days to identify and sanction officers responsible for mismanagement of public funds to the tune of N54.1 billion as exchange loss on external loans.
“The Accountant General is expected to report back to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts within 90 days,” it asked.
In addition, the Senate also gave another 90 days timeline to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to set in motion, process of recovery of Internal Loans made from other Funds which amounted to N390.2 billion and to be paid back into the Special Funds Accounts.
It said the source of the loans are from the Development of Natural Resources Account, Stabilisation Fund Account, 25 per cent Husked Brown Rice Levy, One per cent Comprehensive Supervision Scheme (CISS) Pool Levy, 15 per cent Wheat Grain Levy, and 10 per cent Rice Levy.
It further directed the Accountant-General of the Federation to recover the sum of N378,879,674.99 tax revenue from Webb Fontaine Ltd and remit same to the Federal Inland Revenue Service within six months.
The upper chamber also directed the Nigerian Posts Authority (NPA) to refund the sum of 37.6 million dollars to the federal government coffers due to lack of diligence in the review of NPA’s charges on a contract of Towage services.
It mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to subject the Accounting Officers to investigation, in accordance with Rule 3112 (I and II) of the Financial Regulations.
On other funds diverted by the NPA, the Senate demanded a refund of various sums in local and foreign currencies to appropriate quarters
On financial infractions by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Senate called for the sanction of the Permanent Secretary, in accordance with Rule 3129 of the Financial Regulations and Public Service Rules 030402 over the diversion of funds from the Capital Projects Funds for purchase of Sallah/Christians welfare package to staff of the Ministry.
The upper chamber queried the sums of N46,645,000.00 and N56,418,135.00 for the printing of the Ministry’s letter-headed paper, and demanded that the sum be recovered and paid back to the treasury.
The various infractions, Senate noted, were in violation of Rule 3117.
It called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) to prosecute within 30 days, the Officers in the Ministry of Youths and Sports (National Sports Commission) who certified the payment of N37,185,000.00 from the Capital Vote allocation.
It also directed that N2,695,985.00 be recovered from the emolument of the Director-General of the Small Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), who authorised that the sum be paid to individuals instead of a company’s account.
Besides, it called on the EFCC to prosecute within 30 days, officers of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading PLC (NBET) who were behind the non-remittance of accrued interest on investment in Nigeria Treasury Bills. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)