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NASS orders NIMASA to recover $10m legal, technical fees



NASS orders NIMASA to recover $10m legal, technical fees

Senate on Wednesday ordered the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA to recover $10 million paid for legal fee and technical charges without results to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF.

This was even as the upper legislative chamber indicted the Office of Accountant General of the Federation, AGF; National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC and 45 other ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs of the federal government.

These were sequel to the reports of 2017 and 2018 of Auditor General for the Federation, AuGF considered by Senate Public Accounts Committee, SPAC which was upheld at the plenary session.

According to the AuGF report, the $10 million expected to be recovered was $5 million for legal fee and additional $5 million for technical charges.

It further explained that the $5 million was the five per cent of the $9.3 billion Nigerian hydro-carbon loss between 2013 and 2014, adding that the law firm, which was not disclosed, was expected to carry out necessary legal actions that would enable NIMASA to perfect an intelligence based efforts to track the nation’s hydro-carbon global movement.

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

The query reads in part: “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.

NASS orders NIMASA to recover $10m legal, technical fees

“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 also include Office of the Accountant General for the Federation; Federal Ministry of Environment; National Library; Financial Reporting Council; Federal Ministry of Finance; Federal Mortgage Bank; Energy Commission; Nigerian Copyright Commission and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria.

The rest are Federal Ministry of Justice; Federal Civil Service Commission; Public Complaints Commission; University of Uyo; University of Abuja; Federal University, Oye Ekiti and the National Examinations Council, NECO.

Speaking to journalists after the presentation of the report, the Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Hassan Hadejia (APC Jigawa North West), said the panel has been able to submit four reports to the Senate which has never happened since 1999.

According to him, the 2015, 2016,2017 and 2018 reports of Auditor General have been submitted and considered by the Senate.

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

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