The Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, has said the £4.2m looted by a former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, which the Federal Government recently repatriated from the United Kingdom, has been returned to the state.
Besides, the AGF, pleaded with the House to make the Treasury Single Account legal and constitutional, for it to be more effective, as the Attorney General of Federation, Abubakar Malami(SAN), rejected claims by the House Panel, that he spent over N3billion from funds recovered graft funds.
The Chief Accountant of the federation, made the revelation before the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on “Assessment and Status of all Recovered Loots Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002-2020 by agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for Effective Efficient Management and Utilization”, headed by Rep. Adejoro Adeogun(Ondo-APC).
He was responding to posers from the legislators on the difference between the Federation and Consolidated Revenue Fund Accounts of the Federation, and the desegregation of Recovered Assets and funds.
“All agencies’ revenues, go into the Treasury Single Account, but the TSA, does not apply to the Federation Account. And it depends on the nature of recoveries. Some recoveries are for state governments, and when they come, will send them to the state governments, including the Ibori loot. The recovery of the Ibori Loot, was paid to Delta State. The states will not allow their monies to be taken; they will take us to Court, and we don’t joke with that”, the Accountant General disclosed.
Pressed earlier by lawmakers on the need for the TSA, given that section 162 of the 1999 Constitution says all revenue of government, must go into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, for appropriation by the National Assembly, the Chief Treasurer of the Federal Government, agreed that the TSA was not captured in the constitution.
He however pleaded for an amendment in the document, to accommodate it and make it legal.
“TSA should be given legal teeth; going by the financial regulation and constitution, it’s not there. But with the advent of the TSA, everything is now linked together and centralized.
“But there is a need of an amendment of the law, but may be we can talk about that later”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice, Malami(SAN), in his earlier submission to the House on recovered loots, denied spending N3billion from the amounts recovered from looters.
He said the amount was appropriated for by the National Assembly, and duly released as fees for advocates, by the Ministry of Finance.
The Committee of the House, had accused him of horsing N3billion from recovered loot on 20th February, 2017.
But Malami fires back, stressing that he didn’t deduct from the recovery account.
“I had a budgetary provision of N3billion to fund certain critical activities, especially the backlog of solicitors’ fees; I don’t where the money came from, but it was not from the Recovery Account.
“My responsibility, is to make request from the Ministry of Finance and not deduct from the source”, he said.
Both officials, however didn’t provide information on the amount of recoveries within the timeframe investigated by the House.
The Committee gave The Accounted General two days, within which to furnish the House of details of the recoveries from 2002-2020.