Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has exposed former head of state, General Mohammadu Buhari’s mismanagement of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).
ThisDay in an exclusive report said the exposure was contained in the original copy of a report by the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF) Interim Management Committee, instituted on July 7, 1999 by Obasanjo.
The development has called to question the ability of the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Buhari, to manage the Nigerian economy and fight corruption, if elected president in the face of deepening world economic crisis.
According to the report, the PTF under Buhari's supervision was mismanaged. The report was however neither made public nor was it acted upon by the ex- president.
The report revealed that the Committee had advised Obasanjo to "set up a high powered judicial panel to recover the huge public fund and to take necessary action against any officer, consultant or contractor whose negligence resulted in this colossal loss of public funds."
The report further disclosed that the sum of N25, 758, 532, 448 was mismanaged by the Afri-Project Consortium (APC), a company contracted by the PTF as management and project consultant when Buhari was the chairman.
It was stated that Buhari delegated to the Afri-Project Consortium the power of Engineer in all appropriate project requiring such power, which made them assume absolute powers to initiate, approve and execute all projects by the PTF.
In summary, the mismanagement of funds under Buhari’s chairmanship of the PTF was carried out by the APC (the company) in their capacity as management and project consultants. It said both their management services fee and budget for various projects executed during the existence of the PTF were greatly overpriced.
However, the Committee made up of Dr. Haroun Adam as Chairman, and Alhaji Abdu Abdurrahim, Mr Achana Gaius Yaro, Edward Eguavoen, Mr. T. Andrew Adegboro and Mr. Baba Goni Machina as members, while carrying out its obligations, engaged three management consulting firms to verify all payments made to PTF from inception to September 30, 1999.
The Committee during verification discovered that the consulting firms had overcharged PTF for their services to the tune of N2, 057, 550, 062. Also, while intervening on behalf of the PTF in the road and waterways, education, food, health, and other sectors, the company, according to the report, inflated all the prices.
For example, intervention in the health sector, was said to have amounted to N9 billion in total, and projects in this sector were said to have been executed by the APC and PTF in-house staff, where loss of billions of naira were recorded due to price inflation of products and services.
The committee also discovered that the APC (Company) bought spectacle frames, which could have been done locally at a price between N80 to N880, under the watch of Buhari, at an inflated price of N1, 900 each. Ambulances were said to have been purchased at N13 million per unit, instead of N3 million. And then price inflation of drugs were done to the tune of N1.5 billion.
The report further revealed that the PTF lost money to the tune of N3.5 billion from its bank account operations and that PTF operated its bank accounts under three different categories: Administration, Project and Treasury accounts, and the loss of money to these accounts were said to have been due to "overcharge on Cost of Turnover (CoT), non-payment of interest on current account balances as stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), short payment of interest on deposited funds, and other various discrepancies."
The Committee also discovered that an average income of N182 billion accrued to the PTF from its inception to the date of filing their report. The Committee’s report showed that the PTF used about 70 per cent of that income on highways and urban road projects.
"In this project sector there was total variation of contract sums of N68 billion. These variations were not done with properly priced bills of quantities and approved civil contracts procedure as stipulated by government regulations. Taking the experience of what has been discovered after verification of various contracts awarded by PTF the minimum potential recovery will be about 15%. This estimated percentage will be about N10 billion. The verification of this project sector was about to take off when the committee members were replaced," the report stated.
Meanwhile, the country’s main opposition party has been constantly lambasting the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration on corruption, recently urged Nigerians to vote out Jonathan in 2015 or else the nation will be worse for it.