By G9ija

The Senate has directed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to recover $10 million paid as legal fee and technical charges without results to the Federal Government.

It also indicted the office of the Accountant General of the Federation and 46 other Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

They included the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control.

The indictment was sequel to the reports of the 2017 and 2018 of Auditor General of the Federation considered by the Senate Public Accounts Committee, which was upheld at plenary.

Addressing newsmen after the presentation of the reports, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Public Accounts Committee, Senator Hassan Hadejia, said the Committee has been able to submit four reports to the Senate, which has never happened since 1999.

Hadejia explained that the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 reports of the Auditor General have been submitted and considered by Senate.

He assured that the Committee will submit a bill seeking strict implementation of the National Assembly recommendation Annual Federal Audit Reports and for related Matters, 2023 (SB.117) by next week, which will enable the country to fight corruption.

On NIMASA, the $5 million was said to be the five per cent of the $9.3 billion Nigerian hydro-carbon loss between 2013 and 2014.

The law firm, not disclosed, was expected to carry out necessary legal actions that would enable NIMASA to perfect intelligence-based efforts to track the nation’s hyrdo-carbon global movement.

The AuGF report indicated that the money was paid from Zenith Bank (UK) dollar account.

Part of the query reads: “Audit observed that the agency engaged the service of a legal firm through a letter with reference number NIMASA/DG/KP/2014/001, dated 24th January 2014.

“It was for the intelligence based tracking of global movement of Nigerian hydro-carbon and recovery of loss by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the sum of $9.3 billion between 2013 and 2014, with a start-off cost of $5 million and five per cent of all sums recovered.

“Payment instruction with reference number NIMASA/2007/DFS/WJ/5.500/VOL.11/341 dated April 2014 showed that the firm was paid the sum of $4,523,809.52 (Four million five hundred and twenty three thousand eight hundred and nine dollar fifty two cents only) net as professional fees from Zenith Bank (UK) Dollar account.

“The naira equivalent of this amount was N741,904,761.28 at an exchange rate of N164 to a dollar as of that date.

“No evidence of recovery of either part or the entire sum of the 9.3 Billion US Dollars was presented as at the time of the Periodic Check in February 2018, despite the huge amount of money already paid to this effect.”

The Senate therefore sustained the report of the committee which indicted NIMASA.

Other MDAs indicted by the 2017 and 2018 report are Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Environment, National Library, Financial Reporting Council, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Mortgage Bank, Energy Commission, Nigerian Copyright Commission and Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron.

Also indicted were the Ministry of Justice, Federal Civil Service Commission, Public Complaint Commission, University of Uyo, University of Abuja, Federal Universit Oye Ekiti and National Examination Council.