PUNCH NEWS—– The Federal Government is planning to recover a total sum of N350.33bn from funds said to have been misappropriated in the public sector as part of its revenue drive in the 2016 fiscal year.
Details of the amount to be recovered, which had already been captured in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper for 2016-2018, are expected to be unveiled on Tuesday (today) by President Muhammadu Buhari during the presentation of the 2016 budget to the National Assembly.
Investigations by our correspondent showed that from the N350.33bn expected to be recovered next year, N137.9bn is proposed to be recovered from what the fiscal strategy paper described as ‘Strategic Alliance Contract’.
Similarly, the document stated that the sum of N162.43bn would be recovered through the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation while the balance of N50bn would come from what the document described as ‘Recovery of other misappropriated funds’.
The document did not provide details of how the funds were misappropriated but the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, had said the NNPC had commenced the process to ascertain the amount due to the FG on the Strategic Alliance Contract entered into by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, where $2.46bn was to be recovered.
Shehu had, in a statement recently, said in a report submitted by the management of the corporation to the President, the NNPC revealed that after an extensive investigation into the various oil swap contracts, a sum of $420m had so far been reconciled in favour of the NNPC.
The $420m, according to Shehu, is now due for recovery from the legacy swap contracts.
“Out of the reconciled amount, the sum of $277m had been recovered in lieu of products and the recovery efforts are still ongoing,” the presidential spokesman had said.
Findings revealed that the N350.33bn to be recovered next year would form part of the expected revenue that would accrue to the Federal Government for the funding of its N6.07tn budget for 2016.
Apart from receipts from oil and taxes, the document also listed other sources of government revenue for next year to include privatisation proceeds, where the sum of N10bn is expected to be realised; sale of government property, N25bn; and FG’s share of signature bonus, N740m.
The government had, in the last few months, embarked on serious moves to recover funds either looted or diverted by some public office holders.
While some of them had been arrested and charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, others are still being investigated by the commission.
Those already arraigned are the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, who is being prosecuted for misappropriating the sum of $2.1bn meant for the purchase of weapons for the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists, and a former Minister of State for Finance, Mr Bashir Yuguda.
Others are a former Director of Finance in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu; a former Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa; his son, Sagir; and the founder of DAAR Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last month, in an interview he granted the Nigerian Television Authority and Channels Television, said he inherited a country that was vandalised materially and morally.
He said it got to a stage that the government could not afford to pay salaries.
The President recalled that the situation degenerated to a level that the Federal Government had to help 27 out of the 36 states of the federation to pay salaries.
Meanwhile, a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama, Abuja, on Monday granted bail in the sum of N250m and two sureties in like sum to the immediate past NSA, Dasuki, and others, who, along with him, are facing charges of diversion of about N13bn meant for procurement of arms.
Other accused persons, who were also granted bail along with Dasuki, are a former Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu; ex-governor Bafarawa; his son, Sagir; a firm, Dalhatu Investment, and a former Minister of State for Finance, Yuguda.
The EFCC is prosecuting the accused persons on 22 counts of misappropriation of about N13bn between August 2013 and May 7, 2015.
They pleaded not guilty to 22 counts of conspiracy, dishonest receipt of stolen property in breach of sections 97 and 317 of the Penal Code Act as well as receipt of proceeds of criminal conducts in breach of Section 17(b) of the EFCC Act.
Justice Peter Affen, in a ruling granting bail to the accused persons on Monday, however, ordered that the accused persons should be remanded in Kuje Prison, pending when they would meet the bail conditions.
As of 5pm on Monday, our correspondent learnt that the accused persons were still in the process of meeting the bail conditions in order to avoid being remanded in prison.
The judge directed, in his ruling, that one of the two sureties to be produced by each of the accused persons, must be serving or retired civil servant not below the cadre of a director in the federal or state civil service or any of their agencies.
He directed that such sureties must provide documents showing their status.
The judge also directed that one of the two sureties would be required to tender title documents of property or Certificate of Occupancy of land or aggregate of property worth N250m and which must be valued by a licensed surveyor and estate valuer.
Among other conditions is that the sureties must deposit their passport photographs with the chief registrar of the court and swear to affidavits of means to the effect that they have the wherewithal to forfeit the N250m bail sum in the event that the accused person they are standing bail for absconds.
The accused persons are also expected to deposit their passports with the court registrar or show the court if they have used the passports to meet other bail conditions for other criminal trial they may be facing in other courts.
The judge also ruled that should the EFCC require the accused persons to appear in its office for further questioning on any future charges it intends to prefer against them, they should only be interrogated between 9am and 6pm and be allowed to go home.
He ruled that the anti-graft agency could only do otherwise with an order of “a superior court of record”.
The judge said the bail conditions were imposed in consideration of the terms of the bail granted by Justice Baba Yusuf of the same Maitam Division of the FCT High Court to Dasuki and Salisu with respect to another case of alleged misappropriation of N32bn preferred against the accused persons.
Justice fixed February 2 and 3 for trial.
Justice Yusuf had on Friday granted bail in the sum of N250m with one surety to Dasuki and others being prosecuted along with him on 19 counts of misappropriation of the money, which is part of funds meant for procurement of arms.
Other accused persons, who were also granted bail by Justice Yusuf in that case, were Salisu, a former Director of the NNPC, Aminu Baba-Kusa; and his two companies, Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.
The Director of Publicity of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Presidential Campaign for the 2015 election, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, also attended the proceedings in solidarity with the former NSA