RMAFC begins recovery drive of N10trn from govt agencies



                                                                            

The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission  (RMAFC) Monday announced plans to track defaulters of all unremitted revenues accruable to the Federation Account, including over N10 trillion operating surpluses, Chairman of the commission, Mr Elias Mbam has said.

Mbam said the exercise, billed to take off the first week of October, would involve all unremitted revenues by government ministries, departments and agencies to the appropriate government treasury for the period between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2019.

 Mbam spoke at an interactive session in Abuja organised by the commission for consultants engaged for the recovery drive.  

Following the nation’s dwindling economic fortune occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the RMAFC boss said the president had directed the commission to go after defaulters in revenue delivery.

He said the commission would carry out the recovery exercise in collaboration with both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

Mbam further said the exercise would be preceded by a nationwide verification and reconciliation of accounts to ascertain details of revenue inflows and remittances from relevant organisations of the government for the period under review.

Speaking at the event, RMAFC scribe, Malam M.B. Shehu told the participating agencies that the federal government “takes the issue of revenue generation seriously, particularly with the dwindling oil revenue as a result of the decline in oil revenues at the international crude oil market and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy.”

ICPC recovers N16bn

In a related development, Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, said the commission had recovered N16 billion paid into individual accounts and for non-official purposes from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Speaking Monday at the second National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in Abuja, the ICPC boss said the commission also discovered over N2.5 billion appropriated by a deceased senior civil servant in the ministry for himself and cronies.

He said the recovered sums  were payments made to agric contractors for no job done or overpayment for jobs done, and appropriation of projects to private farms of senior civil servants of the ministry.

Owasanoye said the commission had also unearthed how N2.67 billion payment made to some federal colleges for feeding programme during lockdown when children were not in school, ended up in personal accounts.

The ICPC chairman also listed other assets recovered in the FMARD to include 18 buildings, 12 business premises and 25 plots of land.

He said under Open Treasury Portal Review carried out between January and August 15, 2020, out of 268 Ministries, Departments and Agendas (MDAs), 72 of them had cumulative infractions of N90 billion.

He said while 33 MDAs tendered explanations that N4.1 billion was transferred to sub-TSA, N4.2 billion paid to individuals had no satisfactory explanations.

“We observed that transfer to sub-TSA was to prevent disbursement from being monitored. Nevertheless, we discovered payments to some federal colleges for school feeding in the sum of N2.67 billion during lockdown when the children are not in school, and some of the money ended up in personal accounts. We have commenced investigations into these findings.

“We have restrained or recovered by administrative or court interim and final orders assets above N3 billion, facilitated recovery of $173,000 by the whistle blower unit of FMFB&P from an erring oil company, retrained £160,000 in a UK-bank in an ongoing interim forfeiture. These figures exclude quantum of recoveries on return or contractors to site as a result of projects tracking initiatives.

“It should however be noted that some of these assets are subjected to ongoing cases and where suspects proved their cases, physical or liquid assets will be released in accordance with laid down laws, guidelines or court directives,” he said.

The ICPC chairman said under its 2020 constituency and executive projects tracking initiative, 722 projects were tracked across 16 states of the federation.

He said a number of projects described as ongoing in the budget were found to be new projects that ought to have been excluded in order to enable government complete existing projects.

The anti-corruption chief  also said the commission  discovered that the absence of needs assessment resulted in projects recommended for communities that do not require them being abandoned; projects sited in private houses and on private land thus appropriating common asset to personal use, hence denying communities of the benefit; absence of synergy between outgoing project sponsors and their successors.

He said the commission also found that “uncompleted projects sponsored by legislators who do not return get abandoned to the loss of the community and the state; use of companies owned by sponsor’s friends or relatives or companies belonging to civil servants in implementing MDAs to execute projects which are abandoned or poorly performed; conspiracy between legislative aides of sponsors and implementing MDAs and contractors to undermine quality of project without knowledge of the sponsor; vague project description that result in diversion of funds by implementing MDAs or project sponsor with collusion of contractors and absence of community ownership of project because they were not consulted or largely ignorant of projects allocated to them.”

The ICPC chairman said in the education sector, 78 MDAs were reviewed and common cases of misuse of funds were uncovered.

Some of the discoveries include life payment of bulk sums to individuals/staff accounts, including project funds; non-deductions/remittance of taxes and IGR; payments of unapproved allowances, bulk payment to micro finance banks, payment of arrears of salary and other allowances of previous years from 2020 budget, payment of salary advance to staff, under-deduction of PAYE and payment of promotion arrears due to surplus in Personnel Cost, abuse and granting of cash advances above the approved threshold and irregular payment of allowances to principal officers.

Highlight of the event was the presentation of the 2020 Public Service Integrity and Award to Francis Erhabor, a chief superintendent of police, who is the Divisional Police Officer D Division, Itam, Akwa-Ibom.

Hamza Buwai, Deputy Director Expenditure Ministry of Industry, Trades and Investment, also got the award.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the winner of Music and Essay Competition conducted by ICPC was Adeboye Opeyemi.

Matilda Daniels of Topgrade Secondary School Surulere, Lagos, won the first position, Senior Secondary School category; and Favour Chikezie of Mount Crest High School Owerri, Imo, won the first position, Junior Secondary School.

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