The senate has accused the executive of withdrawing money from the Special Funds Account (SFA) from 2002 till 2012 without due process and appropriate financial practice.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmed Lawan (ANPP, Yobe State) submitted the committee’s finding in a report on the status inquiry into the SFA, which was presented at the floor of the Senate.
Thea report detailed the various withdrawals made by the federal government from SFA.
The report said N1.5 trillion was accrued to the Special Funds Account as at June 30th 2012 out of which the sum of N580 billion were released as loans which have not been paid several years later.
The report also showed that several beneficiaries of the funds utilized the funds for other purposes other than what the funds were created for.
The Special Funds Accounts were initially established to mitigate peculiar areas of needs in the country in 2002.
The funds were intended to tackle erosion and other ecological problems, provide funds to develop alternative mineral resources and provide for unforeseen contingencies and economic downturn.
The Accounts, managed by the Federal Government, comprises the three per cent Development of Natural Resources Account, 1.46 per cent Derivation and Ecology Account, and 0.72 per cent Stabilisation Account.
According to the report, N1.51 trillion accrued to the SFA as at June 30, 2012, from figures obtained from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF). Out of the amount, N1.23 trillion was recorded as total payments to beneficiaries from the account, the report said.
The report also shows how N750 million was released for frivolities such as the development of Abuja Downtown Mall and N10 million released for building an abattoir in Bida, Niger state.
Other loans granted from the funds are: N3.4 billion to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to purchase a chancery in Tokyo, N12 billion loans granted to Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe in 2004 and 2007 as well as N309 million granted to the inspector general of police for purchase of vehicles for UN peace keeping operations in Haiti in 2006, N16.2 billion loan granted to the Directorate of Pilgrim Affairs.
In other infractions, the report noted that N5.7 billion loan was granted to the Ministry of Power and Steel in 2005 for the payment of severance package to disengaged steel workers.
Similarly, in October 2007, the Ministry of Finance also withdrew N10 billion for the payment of arrears of monetisation benefits owed Federal Government parastatals.
The senate consequently directed its committee on Public Accounts to investigate further the utilization of the funds in the special funds account and report to the senate within four weeks.