The Petroleum Trust Fund was inaugurated by the Abacha administration in March 1995 and General Muhammadu Buhari was appointed to head the Fund which was formed sequel to the increase in the pump price of petrol to N 11 from N 3.25. The then Head of State, Gen Abacha had said then that the Fund was to distribute the gain from the increased price on social and infrastructural projects.
The Fund started work with an initial capital of about N60b in 1996 with a mandate that included the rehabilitation of roads and waterways, educational and health institutions, providing textbooks and stationery, procuring essential drugs and vaccines, providing water supply systems, reviving crumbling agricultural sectors, connecting outlying areas to the national electricity grid, extending railways and telecommunications and ensuring consistent food supply.
Buhari often referred to as Mai Gaskiya (the honest one) was apparently considered for the job mainly because of the qualities he possessed, with the Abacha led government feeling that would douse the tension generated by the increase in fuel prices. With time however, allegations started flying that the PTF was no more than another avenue for the Abacha administration to siphon funds.
On assumption of office in 1999, Chief Obasanjo disbanded the PTF. One of the discoveries made by the administration was that between its inception and July, 1999, the funds that accrued to the PTF stood at N 181 billion. It was also found out that the Consultants appointed by the Executive Chairman of the Trust Fund, Gen Buhari constantly fleeced the country of funds running into billions.
In 2000, the Obasanjo administration set up an Interim Management Committee to take a look into the affairs of the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund and ascertain among other things, how much has been spent by the PTF so far and what is on ground to justify the huge expenditure. The Committee the set to work and accomplished all the terms of reference by March 2000. The Interim Management Committee submitted that:
Term of Reference No 1:
The Interim Management Committee has already ascertained the total income that has accrued to PTF from its inception to date. The total amount that has accrued to PTF is N 181, 795, 000, 000 (One hundred and eighty one billion, seven hundred and ninety five million Naira). The report for the ascertainment of accrued income has been completed.
Term of Reference No 2
Independent Consultants were commissioned by the Interim Management Committee to ascertain the state of all the bank accounts operated by the Petroleum Special Trust Fund from its inception up to September, 1999.
All the assignments have been completed and all the reports submitted. An Executive Summary was prepared and a total of N 3, 642, 982, 280 (Three billion, six hundred and forty two million, nine hundred and eighty two thousand, two hundred and eighty Naira) was found to be recoverable from various banks, due to excess charges, under payment of interest on fixed term deposits and non-payment of interest on current account balances, as stipulated by Central Bank of Nigeria guidelines.
Terms of Reference No 3
The Petroleum Special Trust Fund intervened in, prepared and packaged, ready for transfer to the appropriate line ministry
(b) Food Supply Sector All the necessary verification work have been concluded for projects and programmes and reports already supplied by independent consultants. The programme is already in the process of being transferred to the appropriate ministry, as per the approval given by Mr President.
(c) Education Sector i) Educational Materials Procurement Programme: The verification of the entire programme has already been done and the process of handing over the whole programme to the appropriate beneficiaries has reached an advance stage as directed by Mr President ii) Rehabilitation of Educational Institutions: The services of various consultants have been used to carry out the technical audit of all the projects throughout the country and a comprehensive up to date report has already been completed by the co-ordinating consultants. The preparation of an Executive Summary has reached an advanced stage.
(d) Health Sector: (i) Drug Revolving Fund: The drug revolving fund programme has been thoroughly verified and all available stocks have been transferred to the various state governments. As per the directive of Mr President (ii) Rehabilitation of Health Institutions: The programme for the rehabilitation of Health Institutions throughout the country has been verified and a comprehensive up to date status report prepared. And Executive Summary for the attention of Mr President is being prepared.
(e) Water Supply Sector: All projects and programmes under this sector have been thoroughly verified in compliance with the terms of reference No 3. A comprehensive and up to date report has already been completed.
(f) Other Project Sector: The projects under the sector which were commenced have already been completed. The rest of the projects are yet to commence. The report stating the above mentioned up to date status of all projects under this sector has already been completed.
Terms Of Reference No 4
(i) The audited account of the fund as at 30th June, 1999 stating the Assets and Liabilities of the Petroleum Special Trust Fund has already been prepared by the KPMG Audit, a firm of Chartered Accountants. (ii) The Audited Accounts of the fund as at 31st December, 1999 stating the Assets and Liabilities of the fund has already been prepared by Pricewaterhouse Coopers Audit, a firm of Chartered Accountants. (iii) The Audited Accounts of the Fund for the month commencing January, 2000 to June 30th 2000 is to commence when the IMC was replaced. This would have given the asset and liabilities of the Fund at the end of the terms of the former IMC.
Terms Of Reference No 5
The present administrative structure was carefully examined and the best option is to transfer each departmental staff operating a project sector to the appropriate ministry where the projects are transferred. This will reduce hardship on the staff and also will enhance the capacity of the ministry concerned for it to cope with the additional responsibility.
Terms of Reference No 6 and 7
The former IMC has undertaken a thorough technical audit of all projects and programmes using well experienced independent consultants. In the process of the technical audit, the sanctity of all contracts agreement was upheld and all costs were evaluated to a realistic level. The value of work done up to date has been ascertained and the estimated cost of completion has also been calculated. The appropriate ministry that will be responsible for the completion of any project may further negotiate the time and cost of completion of any project.
As it has been enumerated above, all the terms of reference given to the former IMC has already been virtually completed. The handing over of projects to respective ministries has already commenced. The former IMC would have completed the winding down of the activities of the Petroleum Special Trust Fund as directed by Mr President by the end of June, 2000.
The total public funds to be recovered from various contractors, banks and consultants amounted to about Twenty five billion, seven hundred and fifty eight million five hundred and thirty two thousand four hundred and forty eight Naira.
Below is the Executive Summary of various reports of the independent consultants on verification exercise which resulted in the funds recoveries.
Members of The Interim Management Committee Are As Follows:
Dr. Haroun Adamu (Chairman), Alhaji Abdu Abdurrahim, Barrister Achana Gaius Yaro, Arc Edward Eguavoen, Mr. T. Andrew Adegboro, Engr Baba Goni Machina
Report On The Amount To Be Recovered From Some PTF Projects And Programmes
The Interim Management Committee was appointed by Mr President. One of the terms of reference of their appointment is to carry out verification exercise on all projects and programmes prior to packaging the projects and programmes for subsequent transfer to the appropriate line ministries. The recoverable exercises of the under-listed projects were completed and the various reports and the IMC recommendations forwarded to President Obasanjo for further directives.
The Listed Projects Are –
(i) Afriproject Consortium (APC) PTF Management Consultants and also Project Consultants (ii) PTF intervention in the HIV/AIDS Programme (iii) PTF Health Sector Intervention inputs (iv) PTF Prevalent cases of expiring drugs all over the country (v) PTF residential estate development on Plot 780 Cadastral Zone A8, Abuja FCT (vi) PTF Head Office extension contract at Airport Road, Abuja (vii) PTF-Bank accounts operated from inception to 31st December 1999.
AFPRI- Project Consortium (APC) Afri-Project Consortium were contracted by PTF as Management Consultants and Project Consultants. The former Chairman of PTF also delegated to them the power of Engineer in all appropriate project requiring such power. Afriproject Consortium then assumed an absolute power of initiation, approval and execution of all projects.
Three reputable management consulting firms were engaged to verify all payments made to (APC) from the inception of PTF up to 30th September, 1999. On verification it was found that they have over charged PTF for their services to the tune of N 2, 057, 550, 062 (Two billion fifty seven million five hundred and fifty thousand and sixty two Naira only).
(ii) PTF Assisted HIV/ AIDS Programmes : The intervention of PTF in the HIV/AIDS was flawed due to professional negligence by the management consultants. There was an excessive order of HIV/AIDS kits which resulted in most of the kits expiring before use. Also there was gross inflation of the purchase price. The two factors combined resulted in a loss of N 579,000,000 (Five hundred and seventy nine million Naira only).
(iii) PTF Intervention Programmes : PTF intervention in the health sector input programmes totalled to about N 9 billion Naira. The projects were executed by the management consultants and PTF in-house staff. In this sector there are three glaring areas of loss: (a) Purchase of specific frames which was done at N 1,900 each while they can be purchased locally at a price between N 80 and N 880. This resulted in total loss of N 45, 270,000 (b) Purchase of ambulances which was done at N 13,000,000 each instead of the price of N 3,000,000 each. This resulted in total loss of N 900,000,000 (Nine hundred million Naira only). (c) Purchase of drugs was done to the tune of N 3.08 billion. Price inflation and expiring of drugs resulted in a loss to PTF of about N 1, 500, 000,000 ( one billion, five hundred million Naira).
(iv) PTF Prevalence Expiring Drugs All Over The Country: A team of Pharmacists were commissioned to verify the Drugs Revolving Fund Programmes. Their findings were very depressing. A huge loss has been incurred by PTF as enumerated below:- (a) Drugs and consumables worth N 817, 831,723 (Eight hundred and seventeen million, eight and thirty one thousand seven hundred and twenty three Naira only) were found to have expired by October, 1999 (b) another quantity of drugs worth N 94, 741, 517 expired in December, 1999 (c) drugs worth N 233, 416, 829 will expire by March 2000 (d) Drugs worth N 461, 255,073 will expire by June 2000 (e) Drugs worth N 429, 117, 861 will expire by September, 2000 (f) Drugs worth N 1, 196, 276, 052 will expire by October- December, 2000.
There were many cases of deterioration of drugs as a result of faulty manufacturing, inappropriate packaging, improper storage and excess stock.
(v) PTF Residential Estate: The involvement of PTF in Residential Estate Development was out of its intervention sphere. As at now, the estate has been confiscated by government. The contract sum is N 703, 815, 416 (Seven hundred and three million, eight hundred and fifteen thousand four hundred and sixteen Naira only) while after verification, the whole project was valued at N 328, 901, 521 (Three hundred and Twenty Eight Million nine hundred and one thousand, five hundred and twenty one Naira only). There was an inflation of the contract to the tune of N 374, 913, 895 (Three hundred and seventy four million, nine hundred and thirteen thousand eight hundred and ninety five Naira only).
(vi) PTF Headquarters Extension: The IMC Commissioned Consultants to determine the current construction cost of the on-going extension at the headquarters office. The current construction cost determined by the Consultant came to N 326, 207, 861 (Three hundred and twenty six million, two hundred and seven thousand, eight hundred and sixty one Naira only) as against a contract sum of N 461, 216, 759 (Four hundred and sixty one million, two hundred and sixteen thousand, seven hundred and fifty nine Naira only) this resulted in contract sum inflation of N 135, 008, 879 (One hundred and thirty five million, eight thousand eight hundred and seventy nine Naira only).
(vii) Bank Accounts Operated By PTF From Inception To December 31, 1999: Various Consultants were commissioned to verify the Bank accounts operated by PTF from inception of the Fund up to 31st December, 1999. The Fund operated its bank accounts under three different categories viz- (a) Administration Account (b) Project Account (c) Treasury Account. Recoveries to be made from the various banks are as follow:
(a) Administration Account Total Amount recoverable is N 664, 415, 793 (Six hundred and sixty four million, four hundred and fifteen thousand seven hundred and ninety three Naira only). This is mainly due to overcharge on Cost of Turnover (COT), non-payment of interest on current account balances as stipulated by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other various discrepancies.
(b) Project Account On project Account, total amount recoverable is N 2, 467, 817, 167 (Two billion, four hundred and sixty seven million, eight hundred and seventeen thousand, one hundred and sixty seven Naira only). This is made up mainly from overcharge of Cost of Turnover (COT), non-payment of interest on Current Account balances as stipulated by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other various discrepancies.
(c) Treasury Account All the Treasury Accounts were verified and amount to be recovered is N 510, 749, 323 (Five hundred and ten million, seven hundred and forty nine thousand, three hundred and twenty three Naira only). This is mainly due to short-payment of interest on deposited funds. (See Box A).
The total sum of N 11, 658, 532, 448 (Eleven billion, six hundred and fifty eight million, five hundred and thirty two thousand four hundred and forty eight Naira only) is recoverable as per various reports completed as at now.
1.Other Potential Areas Of Fund Recovery : Road (Highways and Urban Roads) The PSTF uses about 70% of its income on highways and Urban Road Projects. In this project sector, there was total variation of contract sums of N 68,000,000,000 (Sixty eight billion Naira). 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 previous contracts awarded by PSTF, the minimum potential recovery will be about 15%. This estimated percentage will be about N 10, 000, 000 (Ten billion Naira). The verification of this project sector was about to take off when the IMC members were replaced.
2. Rural Water Supply Programme The area of potential fund recoveries under this programme are basically two :- (i) Mobilisation paid to contractors who by now have not even commenced work (ii) Over pricing of contracts. The amount to be recovered from this project sector can be conservatively estimated at N 1,000,000,000 (One billion Naira).
The detail verification report on this programme has already been completed. The executive summary of this report was in the process of compilation when the IMC members were replaced.
3. National Health and Educational Institutions Rehabilitation Programme The detail verification exercise on this sector has already been completed by various independent Consultants. The executive summary for total amounts recoverable is now in the process of being compiled. The conservative estimate of amount recoverable due to non-performance of contractors and over-pricing of contract is about N 600,000,000 (Six hundred million Naira).
4. National Educational Material Procurement Programme This programme entails the purchase of educational materials such as text books, exercise books, chalk, dusters, pencils, biro, magazines, maps etc. The verification exercise of this programme is yet to commence. The conservative estimate of recoveries to be made due to non-performance by contractors and inflation of prices will be in the region of N 900,000,000 (Nine hundred million Naira).
5. Rural Telecommunication Programme The Rural Telecommunication Programme was supposed to be carried out in two phases viz: – (i) Pilot programme (ii) The main programme. The main programme was to commence after the pilot programme has been completed and certified as operational, but mobilisation of N 1, 600,000 (One billion, six hundred million Naira) was paid to the contractors for the main programme without any contract being signed at all.
In view of the government policy at present, the full amount of the mobilization paid can be recovered (i.e N 1,600,000,000), See Box B
The Committee recommended that the total recoverable amount can be used to offset some of the outstanding debts because some of the creditors are contractors from whom these amounts are to be recovered. It also recommended that the President may wish to set up a high powered judicial panel to recover the huge public fund and to take the necessary action against any officer, consultant or contractor whose negligence resulted in this colossal loss of public funds.
The Interim Management Committee Members who compiled this report include Dr. Haroun Adamu (Chairman), Alh. Abdu Abdurrahim, Barrister Achana Gaius Yaro, Arc. Edward Eguavoen, Mr. T Andrew Adegboro and Engr. Baba Goni Machina.