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Senate orders ex-perm secs, others to return mismanaged N1tn

Senate

The Senate has justified its decision to compel retired heads of ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government to refund billions of naira allegedly misappropriated during their tenures.

The red chamber had penultimate week directed 59 Federal Government agencies to refund to the Federation Account over N1tn allegedly misappropriated by them over the years.

It specifically ordered that all money illegally spent by the affected agencies between 2013 and 2015 should be recovered and remitted into the treasury within 60 days.

The Senate took the decision after considering the report of the Committee on Public Accounts on the annual report of the Auditor General for the Federation on the accounts of the federation for the year ended December 31, 2015 (parts I & II).

The committee investigated expenditures of the Federal Government agencies from 2015 to 2018 based on the report of the AuGF.

The report of the committee, which was approved by the Senate in plenary, recommended that past and present heads of the affected agencies should refund the money allegedly misappropriated by them within 60 days.

It directed the accountant-general to compile the list of the affected persons for onward transmission to the anti-graft agencies if they failed to refund the funds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund at the expiration of the ultimatum.

Speaking with our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, said contrary to the general belief, the retired heads of the MDAs had the capacity to refund the money allegedly misappropriated by them.

He said it was not proper for the current occupants of the agencies to refund money allegedly stolen by their predecessors.

Urhoghide stated that it was possible for the people, who allegedly misappropriated the funds, to pay back because they would have invested the looted funds and made more gains.

He said, “The person who stole the money while in office might have invested it. So, he would have even been richer now.

“He will have more money than the one he stole. So, let them go and pay.

“The stolen wealth of our nation is in the hands of civil servants and not politicians as many people erroneously believe.”

Urhoghide, had in his report, disclosed that 114 federal agencies out of the over 600 in the country, were queried in the 2015 audit report. Punch

 

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