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Senate uncovers N76b illegal collection by INEC, Army, NSA, orders refund

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• Reps panel indicts NIMASA, PTDF, others over alleged corrupt practices
The Senate has uncovered an illegal collection of N76 billion by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerian Army, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and others.

The funds were drawn by the agencies from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation but were never repaid.

They were fetched from the 25 per cent husked brown rice levy; one per cent Comprehension Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) levy; 15 per cent wheat grain levy; and 10 per cent rice levy.

This was brought to the fore by the 2015 Auditor General’s report submitted by the Senate Public Accounts Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide and approved by upper chamber.

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According to the report, N922.4 million was withdrawn from the 25 per cent husked brown rice levy as loan; N7 billion was collected from the one per cent CISS levy as loan; and N10 billion as loan to INEC to finance the 2015 elections.

The record revealed that N17.92 billion was released to INEC as loan on January 12, 2015 but was never repaid. Also, from the 15 per cent wheat grain levy, N31.4 billion was released to the Nigerian Army, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Revitalisation of Universities Infrastructures Account and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

From the N31.4 billion, the Nigerian Army collected N4.7 billion to fund some of its activities; NYSC collected N6.4 billion to also fund its undertakings; Revitalisation of Universities Infrastructures Account collected N10 billion for funding Federal Universities; and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development took N10.2 billion to fund the 2013 dry season farming.

The Senate, therefore, ordered the Office of the Accountant General to set in motion the process of recovery of the loans and ensure stoppage of further withdrawals from any of the affected accounts without legislative approval.

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, meanwhile, has indicted the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over alleged refusal to account for its income running into billions of naira.

The Wole Oke-led committee, which probed alleged refusal by over 300 non- treasury funded Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to remit audited accounts (2014–2018) to the Auditor General of the Federation, found NIMASA wanting, having failed to remit its 2015–2018 audited accounts.

The committee also indicted the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) over alleged failure to render its 2018 account.

The lawmakers further frowned at the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), which rendered its last audited account in 2005, with 2006 to 2018 still outstanding.

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