Any federal agencies indicted by audit for failing to remit revenue into government coffers are to be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who said this yesterday stated that notices had already been sent to the affected agencies for the payment of outstanding operating surpluses, which was a violation of the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
Adeosun said: “The financial regulations are very clear. Where audit reports have indicted some of the officers, we take them to the EFCC.
Some of the audit findings are so serious. Remember we are not a prosecuting agency, so we handle them over to the prosecuting agencies. We have sent other proposals to the parent ministries so that they can take appropriate measures against indicted officers especially where there is breach of procedures. Remember that there are internal disciplinary procedures and that is exactly what we expect the parent ministries to do.”
“We are working very closely with the EFCC, it is a joint national effort, and we must make every naira count. We are also carrying the National Assembly along. We have the NASS support,” she said.
According to her, if any agency has not got its budget approved by the National Assembly, it does not have the right to go on spending.
“The ideal thing is that they get their budget approved because it is public money. So, it is only the agencies that do not obey the rules that their operations could be grounded to a halt. The laws are there and we have to enforce them. We are talking about N1. 5 trillion we have realised from this move. We can’t continue to allow the spending of this kind of money outside government’s control,” she said.
On affected agencies, she said: “We have asked them to come with their payment proposals, we want to know how their money have been spent. But all the money they spent without due diligence to lay down financial guidelines have to be paid back to government. We have given them time to pay.”
Some of the 33 government agencies/corporations audited by the committee are: Nigeria Communications Commission, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency, Corporate Affairs Commission, Industrial Training Fund, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and Nigeria Airspace Management Agency.
The Minister added that to date, there was N450 billion in outstanding and recoverable operating surpluses identified in 17 agencies. The agencies are the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Shippers Council, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, National Health Insurance Scheme, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Nigeria Communication Commission and the Nigeria Postal Service.