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Full Text Of President Buhari’s Speech At Signing Of 2016 Budget.

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Budget Signing

1. It gives me great pleasure today to sign the first full-year budget of this administration into law. I thank the leadership of the National Assembly, in particular, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and indeed all members of the National Assembly for their cooperation in making this a reality.

2. The budget is intended to signpost a renewal of our commitment to restoring the budget as a serious article of faith with the Nigerian people. This Administration is committed to ensuring that henceforth the annual appropriation bill is presented to the National Assembly in time for the passage of the Act before the beginning of the fiscal year.

3. Through the 2016 budget, aptly titled “Budget of Change’’, the government seeks to fulfill its own side of the social contract. The Budget I have signed into law provides for aggregate expenditures of N6.06trn. Further details of the approved budget, as well as our Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget, will be provided by the Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning.

4. I shall be speaking in more details about the Budget, its implementation and the over-all national economic and social policies of the Government in my address on May 29th, God willing.

5. In designing the 2016 budget, we made a deliberate choice to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy despite the huge decline in government revenues from crude oil exports. This is why we decided to enlarge the budget deficit at this time, to be financed principally through foreign and domestic borrowings. All borrowings will however be applied towards growth-enhancing capital expenditures.

6. The signing of the budget today will trigger concerted efforts to reflate the Nigerian economy, a key element of which is an immediate injection of N350bn into the economy by way of capital projects. To illustrate our renewed commitment to infrastructural development, the 2016 budget allocates over N200bn to road construction as against a paltry N18bn allocated for same purpose in the 2015 budget.

7. Despite the current difficulties we will work extra-hard to achieve our revenue projections. Our revenue generating agencies are coming under better management and are being re-oriented. The implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) is expected to contribute significantly to improving transparency over government revenues.

8. Our determined fight against corruption is resulting in improvements in the quality of public expenditure. The work of the Efficiency Unit, as well as other public financial management initiatives, are also contributing in this regard. The continuing efforts to reduce recurrent expenditures should hopefully free up more funds for capital expenditure in 2017 and beyond.

9. As I said in my New Year message, living in State House does not in any way alienate me from your daily struggles. I read the newspapers and listen to the TV and radio news. I hear your cries. I share your pains.

10. We are experiencing probably the toughest economic times in the history of our Nation. I want to commend the sacrifice, resilience and toughness of all Nigerians young and old who have despite the hardships continued to have hope and confidence of a great future for Nigerians. But permit me to say that this government is also like none other. We are absolutely committed to changing the structure of the Nigerian economy once and for all.

11.We are working night and day to diversify the economy so that we never again have to rely on one commodity to survive as a country. So that we can produce the food we eat, make our own textiles, produce most of the things we use. We intend to create the environment for our young peoples to be able to innovate and create jobs through technology.

12. I cannot promise you that this will be an easy journey, but in the interest of so much and so many we must tread this difficult path. I can assure you that this government you have freely elected will work with honesty and dedication, day and night to ensure that our country prospers and that the prosperity benefits all Nigerians. God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria

BIG STORY

Magu Didn’t Account For N47.8b, Linked With BDC With 158 Accounts, Gave Falana N28m — Probe Panel

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The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, may be facing fresh cases of alleged re-looting of funds recovered by the commission as well as bribery.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Magu is currently being interrogated by a presidential probe panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the EFCC.

A final report of the Presidential Investigation Committee on the EFCC Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May 2015 to May 2020, obtained by NAN, had seriously indicted and implicated Magu on various allegations levelled against him.

The investigative committee terms of reference were to:

Investigate, verify, and review the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets as it relates to the EFCC, with a view to ascertaining the complicity or otherwise of the Ag. Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, in the mismanagement of the assets recovered by the Commission;
Identify Avenues through which the recovered assets are dissipated and seized, recovered, forfeited (Interim and Final) assets are valued, managed, disposed, and/or mismanaged with a view to ascertaining compliance or otherwise with extant laws, regulations, processes and procedures.

Review the existing procedures on the Management of the seized, recovered, and Forfeited assets (interim and final) and proffer Standard Operational Procedures for the management of seized, recovered and forfeited assets.

Determine whether assets recovered during his tenure, whether locally in Nigeria or abroad, are being kept safely in a manner as to preserve their original value and determine:-

Whether all the assets could be properly accounted for by the Ag. Chairman.

To confirm if any of the assets have been diverted to the benefit of the Ag. Chairman, his family, relation, friends, or favoured staff.

To recover any such diverted assets and return back to the EFCC or appropriate government agency.

The committee was also to investigate and report on corruption and money laundering allegations involving Magu and Bureau De Change operators, as well as some of his associates; as per the intelligence reports and petitions.

It was to audit the Assets and Finances of the EFCC as a legal entity from 2015 to 2020, with a view to establishing compliance or otherwise with procurement procedures of the EFCC in line with the provisions of the Procurement Act.

However, new facts have emerged on how interest rates accruing from N550 billion recovered by the EFCC in the period under review were allegedly re-looted.

Magu is now expected to disclose the whereabouts of the missing interest funds running into millions of naira.

NAN also observed that the Final Report of Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets that covered the period of May 29, 2015, to November 22, 2018, had also confirmed the concerns of the public about contradictory recovery figures emanating from Magu.

The report said: “It is quite disturbing that conflicting figures are being circulated in the public space by EFCC as the amount of recovered funds

“For Foreign currency recoveries, EFCC reported a total naira equivalent of N46,038,882,509.87, while the naira equivalent of the foreign currency lodgements were N37,533,764,195.66, representing a shortfall of N8,505,118,314.21.

“These inconsistencies cast serious doubt on the accuracy of figures submitted by the EFCC. It is the committee’s view that the EFCC cannot be said to have fully accounted for cash recoveries made by it.

“While EFCC reported total Naira recoveries of N504,154,184,744.04, the actual bank lodgements were N543,511,792,863.47. These discrepancies mean that EFCC’s actual lodgement exceeded its reported recoveries by N39,357,608,119.43.

“It must be pointed out that the discrepancy of more than thirty-nine billion naira does not include interest accrued in this account since it was opened.

“It, therefore, cast serious doubt on the credibility of the figures and means that a substantial amount of money has not been accurately accounted for.

“Failure to report on the interest on actual lodgements clearly establishes that interest element of over N550 billion has been re-looted relating to the period under review.

“This is an apparent case of manipulation of data in a very brazen and unprofessional manner and this has greatly eroded the public confidence in the anti-corruption efforts.”

NAN also reports that the PCARA revealed how the investigative reports on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit exposed acts of corruption and money laundering against some EFCC officials, including Magu.

The report added: “The NFIU reports established that the Acting Chairman has been using different sources to siphon money from the EFCC, and in some cases collecting bribes from suspects.

“The report has shown that a particular Bureau de Change, owned by Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono linked to the Acting Chairman based in Kaduna has more than 158 accounts and has been receiving huge sums of funds.

“The link to Magu was also established by the payment of N28 million to FALANA who is a close associate and ally of the Acting Chairman.”

NAN reports that the Salami probe panel is expected to continue sitting on Monday while Magu’s lawyer, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, had on Friday applied for an administrative bail for his client, who is facing corruption and other charges before the panel.

NAN.

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BIG STORY

Manhunt Launched For Pastor Allegedly Used By Magu To Buy N573m Land In Dubai —Probe Panel

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A report by the Presidential Probe Panel has revealed details of how the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, allegedly used a cleric to launder funds abroad.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Magu is currently being interrogated by the panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the commission.

A copy of the report made available to NAN on Saturday in Abuja said one Pastor Emmanuel Omale of Hand of God Prophetic Ministry was used by Magu in laundering the funds.

Omale’s name was uncovered through an investigative report on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit and mentioned in the final report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets.

According to the report, the unknown clergy is alleged to have bought a landed property on behalf of Magu worth N573 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The report added: “Another individual who is helping in laundering funds for the Acting Chairman and who has been referred to in several petitions is one Pastor Emmanuel Omale (Hand of God Prophetic Ministry).

“He is reported to have travelled to Dubai with Mr Magu and his name was used in purchasing a property in Dubai for Mr Magu.

“As an unknown pastor, the NFIU’s report showed the huge movement of funds ranging from N573,228,040.41.”

NAN also gathered that efforts had been intensified to expose the real identity of the Pastor with a view to arraigning him for prosecution if found culpable.

On the Diezani Alison-Madueke case, the PCARA report accused Magu of failure to cooperate with authorities in the United Kingdom to facilitate effective prosecution of the case.

The report said: “In the Diezani Alison Madueke case, the Acting Chairman is failing to further cooperate with the UK NCA to enable them to charge the Former Minister to court in the UK.

“The Acting Chairman despite his knowledge that Mrs Madueke will not be extradited to Nigeria until after her trial in the UK has consistently been accusing the UK government on the pages of print and electronic media of not wanting to extradite her to Nigeria.”

Magu was also accused of deliberately refusing to provide documentary evidence that would make the office of the nation’s Attorney-General to commence the extradition process of Alison-Madueke.

“This has strained the EFCC relationship with Europe most strategic partner,” the report further observed.

NAN reports that Magu, who is being held at the Police Headquarters in Abuja, is expected to reappear before the Salami probe panel on Monday to defend himself against several allegations.

NAN.

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BIG STORY

NFIU Office Vandalized As N510bn Is Traced To Kaduna-Based BDC ‘With Links To Magu’

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The offices of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) were vandalized on Thursday night after the presidential panel probing Ibrahim Magu requested for the transaction history of a Kaduna-based bureau de change (BDC), online news medium, TheCable is reporting.

The panel was told that the BDC, which allegedly has links to the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has recently transacted businesses worth over N500 billion in different currencies — N336 billion, $435 million and €14 million.

However, there was a twist in the tale when the panel asked that the transaction history of the BDC be made available by NFIU, the central national agency that handles disclosures and intelligence in the financial sector.

Its offices were then vandalized, forcing members of the panel to seek an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari, who immediately approved the suspension of Magu from office and the overhaul of EFCC security personnel to avoid interference with the investigations.

Magu had been suspended by Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation, since Monday with the tacit approval of Buhari but it was not officially announced.

There is an unresolved controversy on the extent of the supervisory powers of the AGF over the EFCC — which is one of the grievances Malami listed in his memo to the president — but Buhari’s approval has finally sealed Magu’s fate.

The panel, led by Ayo Salami, former president of the court of appeal, was also told that an unknown Lagos-based pastor who is very close to Magu has N573 million in his bank account.

The pastor will be invited and questioned by the panel, TheCable learnt.

Magu was arrested on Monday by a combined team of officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) and force criminal investigation department (FCID) after failing to honor two invitations from the panel.

He has been detained since then and the police authorities on Thursday withdrew his security.

Magu is a commissioner of police by rank.

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