Published On: Mon, Dec 23rd, 2013

Wasting Spree: Obasanjo Squanders N250m on Charles Taylor, Jonathan Spends N4tr without NASS Approval

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan accused of wasting Nigerian resources

LAGOS DECEMBER 23RD (URHOBOTODAY)– A few days after former president Olusegun Obasanjo daughter, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo wrote a letter to him, the House of Representatives has accused the former leader of wasting N250 million of government funds to feed jailed former Liberian president while he was on exile in Nigeria.
Chairman of the House committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Solomon Adeola Olamilekan who made the allegation also disclosed that over 4 trillion was spent from 2004 to 2012 by the Federal Government from the Service-wide Vote without the approval of the National Assembly as stipulated in section 80 of the 1999 Constitution.
Olamilekan alleged that in 2005-2006, the government of President of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo spent N250million to feed former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor and his family, who were on an asylum in the country.
According to him, the extra budgetary expenditures were incurred from the government of Obasanjo through that of Umaru Yar’Adua to the Jonathan administration.
He said, “Most of the expenditures to which the Service Wide Vore releases were deployed are routine in nature and did not qualify for emergency funding. For instance between 2004 and 2012, a total sum of N1, 284,853,731.20 was spent on publicity and publication of various government programmes; between 2004 and 2005 the sum of N250million was spent on the upkeep of the former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, another sum of N14,006,494.847.57 was also released from the Service Wide Vote for the payment of judgement debts against the Federal Government”, he stated.
According to him, “the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Budget Office and the Ministry of Finance released to their various offices a total sum of N2, 267,002,101 to a few Auditors are audit fees and in 2011 alone, the Office of the Accountantant-General of the Federation paid out the sum of N809,358,504 as audit fees to some external ausitors carrying out audit of the Federal Government financial activities instead of the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation”.
The lawmaker further alleged that over N160million was released for the Budget and Accountant General’s offices.
“The expenditure of N162million from the 2011 Seevice Wide Votes releases tagged; “Closing Accounts” incured jointly by the Office of the Accountant-General and the Budget Office of the Federation”.
According to him, “an expenditure of N1,059,177,589.31($6,619,859.93 at the rate of $1=N160) in 201 and 2011 said to payment of oustanding tax on Nigeria House in New York”.
He maintained that “Successive governments have from 2004 to 2012. Spent a whopping and mind-boggling sum of N4.17 trillion naira as against N1.8trillion naira approved by the National Assembly as Service Wide Votes component of the budgets of those years, translating to N2.27trillion naira extra budgetary spending or 220% above the Service Wide Votes as approved in the budget for the period”.
Speaking further, the chairman noted that “such extra-budgetary expenditures constitute a breach of Section 81 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended) and an illegality”.
He said his committee discovered in the course of its oversight that the Service-Wide Vote was converted to a recurrent fund by the government, instead of an infrastructure vote.
“Such releases were mainly used to finance recurrent expenses not targeted at critical and strategic sectors of the economy and the releases were random and did not follow any clear pattern. The Service Wide Votes had become an alternative budget which government prefers to patronize than the annual budget, leading to poor implementation of the annual budget as approved by the National Assembly”.

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