By David Agba
A former chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Hamman Tukur, has said that the bail-out funds to state governments by the current administration have been altogether illegal.
Tukur, who spoke to Economic Confidential in his office in Kaduna, queried the rationale for such disbursements, labelling it as illegal.
“Buhari gave out a lot of money to states recently in the name of bail-out.
Who gave him that money? How did he get access to the Federation Account or the authority to release that money? Did he go through appropriation for approval? If he released the money before it was approved, then it is illegal,” Tukur queried.
Continuing, he added: “In any case, who told the states to be broke? Who stole their money? He (Buhari) should have asked the state governors where their money was.
Some people argue that the money used for the bail-out was from the Liquefi ed Natural Gas (LNG) dividend but the Constitution is very clear: all revenues of government must go into the Federation Account fi rst before anything.
” Tukur said, “The only exception is written in the Constitution, and that is the Armed Forces, the Police and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Anybody or agency paying tax to government for whatever description should channel it to the Federation Account.
” Recalling that the agency rejected such a move during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, Tukur said: “when Obasanjo asked for $5.
3 billion to finance the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) the Commission said he cannot take it from the Federation Account without recourse to the other tiers of government.
“We told him that if he wanted any money, he should take from the Federal Government’s share of the money, and go to the National Assembly for approval,” he explained.