Nigeria's anti-corruption group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to probe an alleged N92billion fraud in several Federal Government agencies including the country's foreign mission.
The petition, which was sent to the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was signed by HEDA's Head, Olanrewaju Suraju, requesting that the EFCC should fish out the corrupt officials.
HEDA's petition was hinged on the Auditor-General’s Annual Report on the Accounts of the Federation of Nigeria 2016 which indicated discrepancies and suspicious misappropriation of public funds by Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The report did not only cover financial mismanagement, it also involved an outright breach of financial management procedures.
Suraju said the reports raised suspicion of fraud, corruption and sharp practices.
HEDA listed the high mismanagement of funds, negligence and overwhelming corruption in the MDAs to the tune of over N92,270,721,358.96. Other unaccounted funds were $225,905 and €4,440,835.64.
HEDA cited the Defence Industries Corporation, (DICON), where 25 contracts worth N493,616,140.00 were awarded to various contractors between 2015 and 2016.
However, the statutory 5% VAT and WHT totalling N28,118,599.51 were not deducted from the amounts paid to the contractors, thus resulting in loss of revenue for the Federal Government.
This, HEDA said, is in contravention of Financial Regulations 234(i) which states that “It is mandatory for accounting officers to ensure full compliance with the dual roles of making provision for the Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT) on supply and services contract and actual remittance.”
At the Federal Ministry of Justice, it was revealed that personal advances granted to various officers totalling N16,467,800 were unretired, contrary to the provision of the Financial Regulation 1420.
At the Senate, some advances totalling N747million were said to have been granted to staff between February and December 2016 for various procurement and services which were not retired as at the time of examination in June 2017.
At the House of Representatives, PAYE deductions from staff salaries totalling N821,564,296:48 were claimed to have been remitted to the tax authorities but receipts for the remittances were not produced for audit verification in contravention of Financial Regulation 235.
The National Institute for Legislative Drafting was also listed to be linked with over 300million funds not properly accounted for.
The National Assembly Service Commission was not spared in the scam.
The report also revealed that documentation irregularities were observed in the recruitment of legislative aides which results in payment of salaries and allowances not worked for totalling N9,371,848:13 as the actual date of appointment of some aides were found to differ from the dates of assumption of duty by several months.
HEDA said it had requested for clarification by the Clerk of the National Assembly but this had yielded no response.
The report further noted that the sum of N2,953,513 deducted from staff salaries as National Housing Fund contributions between January and December 2015 and purportedly remitted to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, was not acknowledged by the bank and that the Director did not respond to a request to produce payment receipt issued by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria in respect of this remittance.