The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim over what sources say may be in connection with mismanagement of Ecological Funds and the Centenary City Project during his days as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to an EFCC official who spoke on conditions of anonymity, Mr. Anyim, who is being questioned for his role in the alleged mismanagement of ecological fund while in office as SGF, among other matters, was on Friday invited to the EFFC office.
Mr Anyim, who also served as Secretary to the Government of the Federation in the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2012, has been linked to shortfalls of about N396 billion in the Ecological Funds deductions.
Due to the said shortfalls, Anyim was invited by the Senate Committee on Special Duties and House Committee on Environment to provide details of how he spent the money earmarked for the Ecological Fund. He never showed up before any of the committees.
According to the report by the committee, “the Statement of Affairs presented by the Accountant General indicates that 1.46 percent was used in calculating inflows into the fund from January 2003 to December 2003.”
The report also revealed that the statement was later reviewed downward to 1 percent from January 2004 to June 2012, in complete violation of the provision of the Federation Account Act, which provides for 2 percent.
Another point raised in the House Committee report is how N93.8bn was transferred from the Ecological Fund Account to Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR) and Federation Account to fund the acceleration of capital budget advances to states and local governments to meet shortfalls and funding of 2009 as well as Third Quarter Development Funds Warrant etc, with only N50bn paid back, leaving a balance of N43.7bn unaccounted for.
Further, the report also stated that N60.75bn was taken from the Ecological Fund Account by both the Federal and State Governments for purposes not related to Ecological problems, with only N30.5bn repaid.
The probe was, however, stalled due to the refusal of Mr. Anyim and the then Environment Minister, Hadiza Mailafia, to appear before the Senate committee with valid explanations on how the monies were spent.
The EFCC source also stated that the former SGF’s arrest has to do with his alleged fraudulent involvement in the execution of the multi-billion dollars Centenary City Project.
It would be recalled that former President Jonathan initiated the Centenary City Project to mark 100 years after the British colonial government effected the amalgamation of Nigeria’s Southern and Northern protectorates.
About 3,000 acres of land allotted for the Centenary City project, the source disclosed, allegedly belongs to the former SGF.
It was also revealed that in February, the former SGF walk out of a question and answer session after he appeared before a House Committee headed Herman Hembe, to answer questions on why the 1,267 hectares project was owned by two companies, Basic Start Limited and Company First Limited.
The Committee report indicted Mr. Anyim and recommended that he alongside a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed and two directors of the centenary city, Paul Oki and Boma Ozobia, be investigated by anti-graft agencies after it was discovered that Centenary City Project, estimated to cost $18.3bn, was supposed to be a private project, but was later discovered to have been diverted for personal gains.