29 Apr

Daily Watch – Buhari to help states again, EFCC investigates Fidelity Bank over Diezani

  • President Muhammadu Buhari had said that it’s “a matter of great concern” to him that nearly two-thirds of Nigerian states are still having difficulties with paying salaries, despite the bailout funds provided to them by the federal government, and as a result he would “strive to make more funds available to the states”. This, he said he would do by specifically “expediting action on refunds due to them for the maintenance of federal roads and other expenses incurred on behalf of the federal government”. According to a statement by Garba Shehu, one of the President’s spokesmen, Buharid said this at a meeting with the governors. Meanwhile, Abdulaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara state and chairman of the governors forum, and Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, who chaired the committee that worked on the fiscal restructuring plan, asked the federal government to do more to help the states financially. The governors told the President that while they had resolved to take other measures to boost their internally-generated revenue, the implementation of the Fiscal Restructuring Plan will help them to deal with their funding problems on short, medium and long-term bases.
  • The EFCC has arrested the CEO of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, for allegedly receiving $115 million from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke. The EFCC also arrested the bank’s Head of Operations, Martins Izuogbe, for his role in the alleged scam, which the anti-graft agency described as unprecedented. The Punch quoted an EFCC source as saying that the fraud was uncovered when the EFCC began investigations into how officials of INEC in Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom states received N675.1 million. During the build-up to the 2015 general elections, according to the Punch’s source, Diezani invited Okonkwo to help her handle some cash, which would be disbursed to electoral officials and groups. The ex-minister was arrested last year by the National Crimes Agency in the UK, and is currently awaiting trial. Under her watch as one of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s most powerful ministers, dubious oil marketers stole trillions of naira of oil subsidy money. The then CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (now the Emir of Kano), alleged that $20 billion was missing from the account of the NNPC, an allegation which led to his suspension and replacement. She has, however, denied all allegations of corruption levelled against her.
  • The House of Representatives has halted plans to raise an FG secured bond of N309 billion to finance the “outrageous shortfalls” in the Nigerian electricity market. The House also called on the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, NERC and Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading to immediately halt the move to raise the bond. This followed a motion by Rep. Edward Pwajok (Plateau-PDP), which was unanimously adopted by members through a voice vote. Moving the motion, Pwajok expressed concern that the planned massive borrowing was in spite of intervention by the CBN in March 25, 2015, through the grant of a bailout. According to him, the bailout is to the tune of N213 billion through the Nigerian Electricity Sector Intervention facility.
  • The CBN’s Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements for the year ended 2015 showed that its net income for the year was N108.530 billion, while its Group net income was N123.074 billion. The results stated that in line with the provision of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 20 percent (N21.706 billion) of the net income of the bank will be credited to its retained earnings while the balance being 80 percent (N86.824 billion) will be paid to the federal government. It stated that the preparation of the consolidated and separate financial statements was in conformity with International Financial Reporting Standard, which required the use of certain critical accounting estimates and judgements. This, according to the CBN also required management to exercise its judgement in the process of applying IFRS accounting policies.