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OAuGF uncovers over N9.424bn fraud by NASS management, Reps

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****queries CNA over non-remittance of N1.718bn VAT, WHT others

The management of the National Assembly and the National Assembly Service Commission have been indicated for embarking on an unexplained expenditure amounting to N9.424 billion in the 2019 financial year.
The Office of the Auditor General of the federation in it’s audit report said about N5.521 billion of such expenditure was credited to the House of Representatives in five different audit queries.
It also indicated that N3.595 billion was credited to the Senate in seven audit queries, while N307.676 million was credited to the National Assembly Service Commission in two audit queries.

This queries were contained in the “Auditor General for the Federation annual report on non-compliance/internal control weaknesses issues in Ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government of Nigeria for the year ended 31st December 2019”

The Report with reference AuGF/AR.2019/02, addressed to the clerk to the National Assembly and dated 15th September 2021 was signed by the Auditor General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu.

It said that the sum of N2.550 billion was granted to members of the House of Representatives as running costs between July and December 2019 without evidence to show what the funds were used for, neither was the money retired.

It also indicated that the sum of N258 million was given to 59 staff of the House, while another N107.912 million was given to two staff for repairs and maintenance of unspecified residential quarters, denying government of the statutory VAT and WHT of N10,791,296 accruable if the work had been awarded to contractors.

The AuGF report also said that the sum of N1,594,807,097.83 was paid to revenue authorities between February and December 2019 as PAYE (6 members), Car Ioan (5 members) and Housing loan (6 embers) without acknowledgment receipts from the relevant revenue authorities.

It also queried the payment of N1,010,598,610.97 from the salary account of the House without payment vouchers as required by law, while asking the Clerk to the National Assembly to provide explanation for the irregularities and ensure that the amount involved is returned to government treasury.

It indicted the National Assembly Service Commission for failure to retire about N31.927 million cash advance granted to 59 staff of the commission as well as failure to remit one percent stamp duty amounting to N276,749,014.68.

It said further indicated that about N219.645 million deducted as housing loan from some Senators were not remitted.

It said “the sum of 219,645,567.08 was deducted from one hundred and seven (107) Senators’ salary arrears between July and December 2019 as housing loans, and there was no evidence to show that the above amount was remitted to the Treasury”.

It also said that N123.320 million and N176.267 million deducted from Senators salary arrears between July and December 2019 as vehicle loans and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) from staff salaries respectively were remitted to the appropriate authority.

The report also said that the sum of N277.411 deducted as VAT and WHT from services rendered were not remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Services, while the office of the Clerk failed to present payment vouchers amounting to N1,718,130,630.24 for audit verification.

In the same vein, the report said N657.757 million was paid for the supply of vehicles and other office equipment in 16 payment vouchers that were not cleared by Internal Audit as required by law before such payments were made, while another N423.370 million was paid for the supply of utility vehicles
and production of National Assembly Logo between August and November 2019 from the Capital account with no relevant document.

The House Committee on Public Account has however summoned the Clerk to the Nation Assembly, Arch. Amos Ojo to appear before the committee to respond to the audit queries.

Chairman of the Committee Rep. Wole Oke said before the House went on Christmas break that the Clerk should appear before the committee to respond to respond to the Auditor General queries.

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Legislature

Senate affirms Kogi’s status as an oil producing state receiving 13% derivation

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The Senate on Thursday affirmed Kogi State as an oil producing state receiving 13% derivation as stipulated for by section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The affirmation was sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator Jibrin Isah, popularly known as Echocho (APC Kogi East).
Senator Isah’s motion came 24 hours after a heated debate between him and Senator Tony Nwoye on the status of Kogi as an oil producing state receiving 13% derivation .
While Tony Nwoye in his presentation at Senate plenary on Wednesday, on a bill seeking for inclusion of Anambra State in the operational radius of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), argued that Kogi State is not receiving 13% derivation like Anambra State, Echocho countered him that Kogi State has been a receiving the 13% derivation since October 2022.

Coming on the strength of Order 42 of the Senate Standing rules, the Kogi Senator raised a motion for affirmation of Kogi as an oil producing State, benefitting from the 13% derivation .
The singular prayer of Senator Echocho’s motion urged the Senate to take the clarification that Kogi State is an oil producing state which has been receiving the constitutional 13% derivation since October 2022; and accord it the necessary recognition as an oil-producing state.
Senator Echocho prior to adoption of the prayer by the Senate submitted saying that oil has been the mainstay of the Nigerian economy right from 1956 when it was discovered in commercial quantity at Oloibiri in the present Bayelsa State.

He explained further that after the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantities in Oloibiri, other discoveries were made in other parts of the country, including the present Abia, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ondo, and Imo States.

“Informed that oil was later discovered in commercial quantities in Odeke, Echeno, Ihile, Anocha/Uchuchu, Omabo, Ikah, Iregwu and Ujeh all in Ibaji community of the present-day Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State.

“Further Informed that after due assessments and consultations, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, officially listed Kogi State as an oil producing state in 2021.

“Aware of the peculiarities of the oil producing States, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under section 162(2), directs the constant reflection of the principle of derivation of not less than 13% in any approved revenue allocation formula.

“Recall that in a debate on a Bill to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act No.86 LFN 2004 (SB 271) before this distinguished Senate on Wednesday, 28th February 2024, the sponsor of the Bill, Senator Tony Nwoye, stated that Kogi State is yet to start receiving the constitutional 13% derivation as an oil producing state.

“Cognisant that upon the official recognition by the RMAFC in 2021, the Kogi State Government officially received the first 13% derivation in October 2022 and has continued to receive it till date.

“Further Cognisant that the receipt of the first 13% was officially acknowledged by the Kogi State Government in a state broadcast on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, which was widely published in national dailies which reported Kogi State as the first northern oil producing state to get 13% derivation. Copies of those publications are attached for ease of reference”.

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Afeez Kilani declares to contest NASSLAF chairmanship

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***Says he is most experienced having gone through the ranks

Alhaji Prince Afeez Kilani, senior Legislative Aide to distinguished senator Buhari Abdulfatai has officially declared to contest for the chairmanship position of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF)
Kilani who hails from Shaki west in Oyo State, South west Nigeria said he would bring his wealth of experience to bare by improving on the welfare of Legislative Aids.
“I have been here since the year 2015. I got here as a legislative Assistant, that is LA2 and because of thr level of dedication my boss promoted me to LA1 in 2019.
“Now I am the SLA to the distinguished senator Buhari Abdulfatai, he is a third time Senator in the Nigerian senate.
“With this carrier progression, coupled with my experience in the National Assembly, at least I have run through the ranks of the aides of the National Assembly.
“I think I am in the best position to understand the yearnings and the needed welfare of the legislative aides because I have gone through the ranks of the legislative aids.
“We don’t want a situation whereby an aide or a chairman will be elected and he will not understand what other legislative aides are going through.
He said there is no need to elect a chairman that will not understand the pains, the feelings and yearnings of Legislative aides.
He said he is a reflection, a manifest example of a leader who has gone through the ranks of legislative aid because, “I started my carrier as an SL2 but now I am the SLA so there is nothing that any legislative aide is going through that I don’t understand.
“With that understanding, I am in the best position pilot the affairs of the national Assembly legislative aides. If you give me your support, I am going to serve you better.”
On how he would be able to use diplomacy to settle disagreement with the management of the National Assembly when it arises, he said, “We are in the 21st century, and as a lawyer there is what is called alternative dispute resolution. In labour law, it is very important that confrontation, protests should be the last thing, should be on the last burner.
‘The first thing is negotiation, good approach to issues, we are in a democratic era. It is when all that fails that we can adopt confrontation which we are not going to even adopt.
“I know with my skills as a lawyer for more than 11 years of experience, it is not going to be difficult for me to meet with management to convince them of the reason why they should take care of us.”

Chairman of the Southwest National Assembly Legislative Forum, Ogumawola Ebeneza, said, “As you can see the ovation is laud because we have gone through rigorous screening and Southwest as a leading zone when it comes to affairs of the NASSLAF we have then everything in to consideration and we decided one voice to queue behind our own Barr.Hafiz Kelani as our candidate
The DG said the aides need a new lease of life.
“We are tired of recirculation of warn out leaders. We don’t want people that have been circulating themselves since the 5th Assembly.
“You have heard the voice of the aides, the first timers, and the semi first timers and we have decided as the South West zone we have decided to put our own, some one who’s door will be opened, who will not stay in the office wanting people to come and meet him.
“He is someone that will go round to know the needs and yearnings of the aides. This is the man we are looking for. This is the reason we are doing to stand by him, He is not for South West but for all the zones.
Olusola Olugbami AKA maintain said they need Somebody that will do what others have not been able to do, you know in the South West, we don’t take the back seat.
“Whenever we said we have resolved to do something that is what we will do. This is our candidate and by the grace of God, he is going to emerge victorious.

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Senate panel quizzes Bakari as NFIU Boss

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The Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes has on Monday quizzed Hafsat Bakari as the Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, (NFIU).

President Bola Tinubu last week appointed Bakari as the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit, pending her confirmation by the Senate.

By the appointment Bakari is to replace Modibbo Tukur who was relieved of his job by President Tinubu in June 2023.
Bakari is a lawyer and financial intelligence expert with years of experience in anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and counter-proliferation financing said she has “enough experience to discharge he duties”
Before her appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of the NFIU, she served as Deputy Director at the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, and was at different times the Head of the General Services Unit; Head of the Strategy and Reorientation Unit, and Head of the Board Secretariat of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
In a chat with newsmen after the screening, the Chairman Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Emmanuel Menga Udende expresses that Ms. Bakare will bring her wealth of experience and expertise to bare in the discharge of her mandate in this critical role, especially in view of the President Bola Tinubu’s war against illicit financial flows and other sharp practices currently prevalent in segments of the nation’s foreign exchange markets”
The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) a creation of the National Assembly is the Nigerian federal agency responsible for collecting and analyzing disclosures from reporting organizations, in order to produce financial intelligence to other agencies combating money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes.
The NFIU was established in 2004 as an autonomous unit within the central coordinating body for the country’s Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorist Financing, and Counter-Proliferation Financing (AML/CFT/CPF) framework of Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN).
It also operates as part of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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