Corruption: $23.224b, N7.744trn unaccounted for, CISLAC warns NASS against approving loans for FG

THE Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) also known as  Transparency International Nigeria on Tuesday, says that a total of $23.224 billion and N7.744 trillion have been left unaccounted for by various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the country.

The legislative advocacy centre in a statement disclosed that it was worried over the rate at which the Presidency seeks approval to borrow more money despite huge amount of resources that have been wasted by MDAs.

It urged the National Assembly to restrain itself from further approval of borrowing by the Executive arm of government until these monies which it termed ‘illicit flows’ are accounted for and recovered.

In June, less than a week after receiving a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate approved a $5.513 billion loan request by the president.

In the same month, the House of Representatives approved the president’s request to take $22.7 billion in foreign loans.

The Civil Society Organisation (CSO) called for a suspension in approval of loans, stating that it would go a long way in reducing the burden of debts on citizens.

According to CISLAC, in 2018, findings from a series of audits of the oil and gas sector carried out by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) showed that Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its upstream arm, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), had failed to remit $21.778 billion and N316.074 billion to the Federation Account.

It explained that these were amounts due from three main sources: the federation assets divested to NPDC and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company’s (NPDC) legacy liabilities; payments for domestic crude allocation to NNPC; and dividends from investment in Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) paid to but withheld by NNPC.

Disclosing series of spending yet to be accounted for, it added that the June 2020 publication of the NNPC 2018 Audited Financial Statement (AFS) shows that three of Nigeria’s four refineries gulped N1.64 trillion in cumulative losses recorded in their operations since 2014.

The Nigerian Senate in January, had resolved to probe the corporation over the sum of $396 million which was spent on turn-around maintenance of the refineries, between 2013 and 2015, without any positive result.

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It further stated that certain infractions were uncovered against the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) in which N3.4 billion were squandered on non-existent staff training and split into about 196 different consultancy contracts.

According to the CSO, it was done in order to evade the Ministerial Tenders Board and Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval.

In its submission, CISLAC asked the National Assembly to mandate the Executive arm to recover misappropriated, mismanaged and looted funds, all the while while resisting further loan requests.

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