Jul 6 2012
Kunle Akogun in Abuja
The committee discovered the missing funds during an interactive session it had with officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGoF).
It also uncovered missive discrepancies in the presentations of officials of the three government agencies even as it frowned at violations in the disbursement and utilisation of the intervention funds.
The special fund was created in 2002 by the Federal Government as a Special Intervention Fund to open up the Nation’s Economy, particularly the non oil sector but the committee said no single project was accomplished in the Sector.
The Senator Ahmad Lawan-led committee found that while both the records of the Federal Ministry of Finance and that of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could not properly account for about N44 billion, the total figure of 873 billion, in 12 years, between 2002 and May 31, 2012 failed to tally with the balance of N171 billion within the same period.
The committee also found out that although the Special Intervention Funds was set up to develop solid and other non oil Minerals for the benefit of non oil producing states of the Federation in the disbursement of the fund the records show that no single project was attracted the attention of the fund.
For example, over N4 billion was disbursed as loan to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to fund the Gurara water project, about N224 billion was disbursed to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the purchase of Chancery, while various other sums of the money was disbursed as loans to several other Ministries and government Agencies to fund other projects like payment of monetisation to federal civil servants, Aviation, GOJA, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Conference of Ministers among other frivolities including JVC that has nothing to do with Solid Minerals with no evidence of repayments.
A visibly angry Lawan said: “Certainly, there are massive discrepancies between the CBN figures and that of the Ministry of Finance and this is not good enough as it is in clear violation of existing laws.”
Although both the Permanent Secretary of the of the Ministry of Finance Mr Danladi Kifasi, and Deputy Director Finance, Suleiman Tahir, tried to explain that they were yet to carry out bank reconciliation that would clarify the grey areas, the committee insisted that it was convinced that the missing period between 2002 and 2005 that was omitted in the CBN’s record may not necessarily have any effect on the discrepancies.
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