INEC spent N96.7bn in five years

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INEC spent N96.7bn in five years

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By Chiawo Nwankwo, Olusola Fabiyi and John Ameh, Abuja


Published: Monday, 16 Feb 2009

The Independent National Electoral Commission spent a whopping N96.73bn between 2003 and 2007 on the conduct of elections, hotel accommodation, transport, printing and other exigencies. A statement of account by the commission which was obtained by our correspondents over the weekend showed that the commissioner spent N31.041bn in 2003; N5.169bn in 2004; N4.792bn in 2005; N11.515bn in 2006 and N44.219bn in 2007.

According to the statement, electoral expenses in 2007 cost N34,012bn and N25.143bn in 2003. The commission also spent N280. 9m on hotel and entertainment and N230.3m on transport and travelling between 2003 and 2007.

Other huge expenses in 2007 were repairs and maintenance, N903,7m; medical expenses, N218m; professional and legal fees N794.9m; security, N506.5m; and ICT N806.3m.

While N1.63bn and N313.7m were spent by the commission on printing and stationery in 2003 and 2004 respectively, the amount surprisingly dropped to only N59.9m in 2007.

Also, INEC’s income profile for the period (2003 to 2007) stood at N67.88bn, which it said came from “subvention from the Federal Government, subvention from state governments and sundry income.”

The N67.88bn is, however, different from N131, 06bn which it tagged capital and recurrent receipts from 2003 to 2008.

In 2005, the commission collected N4.726bn, N54.42bn in 2006 and N29.14bn in 2007.

A breakdown of the receipts showed actual and budgeted figures, encapsulated in capital, consolidated revenue fund, personnel cost, overhead and electoral recurrent.

INEC’s expenditure in 2008 was not part of the N96.7bn it spent between 2003 and 2007.

A summary of the commission’s capital and recurrent expenditure profile revealed that it received N24.8bn in 2008. The financial statement for 2008 is not yet out.

To clarify the difference between the N131.01bn capital/recurrent receipts and the N67.8bn which INEC regarded as income, one of our correspondents visited the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Thursday and Friday.

When contacted, INEC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Segun Adeogun, said he was not competent to speak on the matter.

He explained that only the commission’s Secretary, Mr. A.A Kaugama, and the Director of Finance could speak on the issue.

Also, a summary of INEC’s revenue from 2003 to 2007 showed that it made N68, 91m from contractors’ registration, N28.5m from tender fees, and N3.8m from the registration of political parties.

It also realised N35.4m from the sale of unserviceable vehicles and obsolete items in 2003, 2005 and 2006 as well as N6.8m from the sale of vehicles to its 36 state resident commissioners.

The commission, which gave a grant of N600m to political parties, did not make any other money available to them (parties) until late in 2008.

However, the management of INEC finances is a subjected of a petition forwarded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties.

The CNPP Chairman and former Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, who signed the petition with five others, is also the chairman of Peoples Redemption Party.

In the petition, the CNPP queried the N6,58bn contract awarded to the Nigerian Security and Minting Company in Abuja for the printing of ballot papers for the 2007 presidential, National Assembly and governorship poll, which it failed to deliver after being paid 80 per cent of the contract sum.

It alleged that the commission re-awarded the contract to some British and South African firms “at a much high cost.”

The CNPP also queried the contracts for the supply of VSAT equipment and IMMARKSAT M4 radio equipment, which gulped hundreds of millions of naira.

According to the CNPP, INEC did not use some of these equipment during the 2007 election.

When reminded of this, Adeogun said it was a subject of investigation.

The Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation had scrutinised INEC’s accounts, during which it discovered that N465.7m cheque was raised before a payment voucher was prepared.

On the finding, Adeogun said, “This practice amounts to a total breakdown of internal control system, a contravention of existing rules and regulations in respect of the use of public funds and an indication of absolute laxity over control of funds in the commission.”

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Maurice Iwu, had appeared before the House Committee on Public Accounts, over the matter and others issues.

According to Iwu, since the payment in question was done between 1998 and 1999, a period of transition from military to civilian rule, INEC was, therefore, not culpable.

The committee is yet to finish with its scrutiny.

INEC’s perceived shoddy handling of 2007 has led to the Appeal Court nullifying the election of some governors, thereby increasing public spending on it.

The states affected are Sokoto, Bayelsa, Adamawa, Kogi and Sokoto.


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