Jonathan Approved N80bn Special Funds For Dasuki
Former President Goodluck Jonathan approved the the sum of over N80 billion to execute projects not related to his office for former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki, received, a report by Daily Trust says.
According to some documents seen by the paper, Sambo Dasuki received the fund after former President Goodluck Jonathan approval between May 20, 2013 and March 2015.
The amount is more than the 2017 budget of Nasarawa or Yobe states or equivalent to the budget of five average federal ministries combined.
Dasuki is already on trial for alleged misappropriation of $2.2 billion dollars arm procurement deal.
The documents showed that payments were made in five batches from two special fund accounts namely – the Stabilisation and Residual Account and Development of Natural Resource Account. Some of the funds were spent on projects such as dam construction, protection and surveillance.
The biggest chunk of the money ?36.4bn was processed on 24/03/2014 to NSA via a letter referenced PRES/87/MF/-2/235/100/MWR/107/149/NSA/625 and NSA/SH/600/A of 6th March, 2014. The Central Bank of Nigeria released the money on March 26, 2014.
The said letter ordered the Office of Accountant General of the Federation to release the fund from the Federal Government of Nigeria Development of Natural Resources Account for the protection of 20 selected dams including helicopter surveillance, rehabilitation of Kiri Dam and construction of Mangu Dam.
Investigations show that the contracts didn’t follow due process even before the release of the fund. In the same vein, a visit to some dams in Abuja and some north eastern parts of Nigeria by some auditors have no proof of NSA staff or duty post at the dams even during the peak of the crises. The auditors also did not witness any helicopter landing platform at the dams.
Another payment of ?30 billion was made on March 11, 2015 to the former NSA approved by the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for security related transactions vide memo REF. DFD/OAGF/365/1and FD/5385/S.44/IV/T/307 of 2nd & 3rd March, 2015 from the stabilization and residual account. The letter did not contain details of the security related transactions.
Other payments were captured as ?7.7bn approved by the former president as shortfall in 2012 appropriation vide ref. PRES/87/MF/968 AND OAGF/FD/RS/31/VOL.VI/40/DF <http://vol.vi/40/DF> of 24th and 28th May 2013 from Stabilization and Residual Account on May 30, 2013 to the NSA and another ?5.5bn approved by the president for security related transactions vide memo REF. BD/2000/EXP.557/T2/66 and FD/5385/S.91/1/11/DFOF 9TH & 11th December, 2013 from the Development of Natural Resources Account. And ?1.1bn approved by the former president as loan for the payment of 2013 paramilitary NSA and other intelligence agencies group life insurance vide ref. PRES/87/MF/-2/459 of November, 2014 Stabilization and Residual account on May 12, 2014.
Early last year, a committee established by President Muhammadu Buhari to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the armed forces from 2007 to 2015, revealed in its preliminary reports of an extra-budgetary spending to the tune of N643.8 billion and an additional spending of about $2.2 billion in the foreign currency component by the NSA office under the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
The committee discovered that an officer serving in the ONSA used his office to secure 2 contracts for his company, Geonel Integrated Services Ltd, among which are for the protection of 20 Dams and Presidential Air Fleet security at the cost of 6.2bn and $5m USD respectively.
The process of the administration of the special accounts has since been generating controversies. According to some observers, the release of the funds contravened the extant laws of Nigeria.
In the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Section 80(3) stated that “No moneys shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the federation other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation unless the issue of those moneys has been authorised by an Act of the National Assembly”
Also the Revenue Act, states that for the Stabilisation Fund, Shall be used to initially augment the allocation to any state of the federation that suffers absolute decline in its revenue arising from factors outside its control in accordance with the acceptable threshold, to be worked out by the National Revenue Mobilisation Allocation, and Fiscal Commission, at which recourse can be had to the Fund and for how long.”
A constitutional lawyer and activist, Femi Falana (SAN) when contacted on the legality or otherwise of the withdrawals from the special funds told Daily Trust that “As far as the Constitution is concerned the Federal Government cannot take any loan without the approval of the National Assembly. Neither can any fund be withdrawn from the accounts belonging to the federation and the Federal Government without appropriation by the National Assembly.”
In its audit report for special purposes funds from 2007 to 2011, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) described Stabilisation and Residual Account and Development of Natural Resource Account as loose fund available for government to borrow to meet other obligations.
NEITI said the fund SRA which was set up to serve as a stabilizing factor on the federation revenues from any economic down turn arising from depletion in oil revenues, over the years became a pool to grant loan to fund various expenditure while DNRF which was set up to develop alternative sources of revenue from natural resources was not used for the same purposed by previous administrations.
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