Supreme Audit Court of Iran confirms government’s taking $4.1 billion out of NDF

Tehran, Iran, May 28

By Milad Fashtami - Trend:

The Supreme Audit Court of Iran (SAC) confirmed that the government has taken some $4.1 billion out of the National Development Fund (NDF).

Fayyaz Shojayee, a prosecutor with SAC, said that the government used a special method for taking the money out of the NDF. He went on to note that SAC is currently investigating to determine whether the move was legal or not. National Development Fund has been at the center of controversies in the past months.

Iranian MP Masoud Mirkazemi said on May 5 that he has some documents which show that the government took money out of the country's National Development Fund (NDF).

"The documents show that the government illegally took $4.1 billion out of the NDF in the last days of the previous [calendar] year (which ended on March 20)," Mirkazemi explained, Iran's Tasnim News Agency reported on May 5.

"The government took the money promising to return it once the blocked oil revenues arrive in the country," he said.

The government has rejected the claim, but Mirkazemi advised the officials to be honest and tell the truth.

The deputy director general of NDF said on May 2 that the current administration has not taken any money from the fund.

"Taking money out of the NDF needs the parliament's approval," Qasem Hosseini said, adding that so far the parliament has not approved anything like that.

He added that the assets of the NDF amount to $60 billion.

"The NDF's reserves were around $54 billion when President Hassan Rouhani took office last August, and since then the figure has reached $60 billion, deputy director general of the NDF," Hosseini told Trend on May 2.

He went on to say that the fund isn't facing any problems, and the situation is desirable.
Commenting on earlier reports quoting Rouhani as saying that the NDF was empty when he took office, Hosseini said it was a misunderstanding.

"President Rouhani meant that the government had no money, not that the NDF is empty. The NDF is a non-governmental institute, which has sources other than the government," he explained.

The NDF is Iran's sovereign wealth fund. It was founded in 2011 to replace Oil Stabilization Fund.

Based on Article 84 of the Fifth Five-year Socio-Economic Development Plan (2011-2015), the National Development Fund was established to transform oil and gas revenues to productive investment for future generation.

Some 23 percent of the revenues from the mentioned sources went into the NDF in 2013. This share will reach 32 percent by the end of 2016.

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