THE Senate Committee on Public Accounts has unearthed how N701.5 billion, which accrued to the Natural Resources Fund, was misapplied.
It discovered that out of the N873,400,023,790.19, which accrued to the fund between 2002 and 2012, “N701,489,494,960.61 was allegedly paid out from the account for programmes and projects that had little or no relevance to natural resources development”.
The Natural Resources Fund was created in 2001 by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFC).
Following a motion by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Abu Ibrahim in 2012, the Senate mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to investigate the fund.
Senator Ibrahim (Katsina South), in a statement yesterday, said the report of the Public Accounts Committee showed clearly that the fund was misapplied.
The lawmaker urged President Muhammadu Buhari “to investigate thoroughly what has happened to the fund’s account between 2012 to date with a view to determine” its exact position.
He explained that the fund, as provided under the RMFC revenue allocation, pegged 1.6 per cent of the Federation Account for the development of alternative natural resources outside oil and gas.
Ibrahim added that the purpose of the fund was to provide possibility for every part of the country, other than oil and gas, to benefit from the principle of derivation.
He said: “It has been discovered, however, that since its inception, the fund was never appropriately utilised for the purpose it was established. For example, it has been discovered that out of the total amount of N873,400,023,790.19, which accrued to the fund between 2002 and 2012, the sum of N701,489,494,960.19 was allegedly paid out from the accounts for programmes and projects that have little or no relevance to natural resources development.”
He added that “in 2012, the Senate, which acted on his sponsored motion, ordered the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the funds”, stressing that the report of the committee has shown clearly how the account of the fund was misapplied.
Details of the report of the Senate Public Account Committee obtained by The Nation indicated that on August 30, 2002, N612,276,016,.65 was paid as JVC Contribution deducted from Akwa Ibom grant between March and May, 2002.
Similarly, on July 24, 2003, N1,300,000,000 was paid as loan granted to derivation escrow account, while N50,000,000,000 was paid out from the account as loan granted to finance deficit in year 2004 fiscal budget.
It showed that on November 23, 2004, the sum of N4.574 billion loan was granted to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for Gurara Water project.
Also, N2 billion loan was approved to the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs (Sagem on National ID cards).
The sum of N2.5 billion loan was granted to Federal Ministry of Power and Steel on November 24, 2004 from the fund for payment of salary arrears of steel company workers. Another loan of N2.647 billion was granted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the fund on November 25, 2004 for purchase of Chancery in Tokyo.
Another loan of N1,098,505,000.00 was given to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 30, 2004 also for the purchase of Chancery in Tokyo.
On February 24, 2005, a loan of N222,995,000 was approved to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the purchase of Chancery in Tokyo.
Also, on April 18, 2005, another loan of N864,725,036 was granted to the National Health Insurance Scheme for ID cards production.
On February 9, 2006, N10,114,945,832 was approved for the payment of October-December 2005 arrears of Monitised Fringe Benefits in all Federal Government parastatals.
On November 13, 2006, N133,588,125 was released as loan to the Federal Ministry of Justice for the introduction of fast-track court processes.