THE Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, OAuGF, has accused the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, of illegally spending N21.715 billion on projects outside its core mandate and the non-remittance of N4.047 billion realised from investments in local and foreign banks.
This was disclosed by the OAuGF in its Audit Report of the accounting records of the Federal Government of Nigeria, as well as accounts of Ministries Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government for the year ended 31st December, 2015. Mr. Femi Ajayi was the Executive Secretary of the PTDF during the period of the audit.
He was appointed June 2014 and was removed from office, February 2016 while the current Executive Secretary of the PTDF is Mr. Bello Aliyu Gusau was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2016. In its audit of the books of the PTDF, the OAuGF also stated that various questionable payments totalling N594.75 million were made to the Nigerian Institute of Welding, Warri, as course fee for welders training and certification programme.
It noted that lists the of beneficiaries and evidence of attendance at training sessions that would authenticate the genuineness of the transactions were not attached to the payment vouchers, adding that consequently, it was difficult to confirm the genuineness of the transactions, since the attendance list was not attached to the payment vouchers. On the non-remittance of the N4.047 billion investment proceeds, the OAuGF ordered the Executive Secretary of PTDF to remit the stated sum to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and to forward the relevant treasury receipts for audit verification.
The OAuGF disclosed that there were no treasury receipts made available to the audit team to confirm that the proceeds from the investment were remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which was in violation of Federal Circular TRY/A5&B5/2009 OAGF/CAD/026/V32 of 29th June, 2009, titled “Guidelines on investment of Idle funds in Nigeria”, which among other things provided that “ realised interest on all investments shall be accounted for and be immediately remitted to the Sub-Treasurer of the Federation.
It also declared that the non-remittance of the investment earnings violated Financial Regulation 3207 which stipulated that all interest earned from Fund placement shall be paid into Consolidated Revenue Fund. On the illegal spending on contracts, the OAuGF revealed that contracts valued at N21.715 billion were awarded and paid for, for the construction of buildings and road drainage, upgrading some universities and polytechnics, renovation of senior staff club, sewage treatment, parking lot and dual carriage way, among others. These projects, the report stated, involved huge capital expenditure and are purely outside the core mandate of the PTDF.
The report stated that Chapter P15 of the Petroleum Technology Development Act specified the purpose of the Fund as follows: ‘The fund shall be available for the purposes of training Nigerians to qualify as graduate, professionals, technicians and craftsmen, in the fields of engineering, geology, science and management in the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria or abroad.’ The report added that based on the purpose for which the PTDF was set up, the Act therefore, stated that the Fund shall be utilized to: “To provide scholarships and bursaries, wholly or partially in universities, colleges, institutions and in petroleum undertakings in Nigeria or aboard; To maintain, supplement, or subsidize such training or education.