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Audit report indicts National Assembly over N9b ‘unexplained’ expenditure

By Msugh Ityokura, Abuja
31 December 2021   |   4:14 am
Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) has indicted management of the National Assembly and the National Assembly Service Commission for embarking on an unexplained N9.424 billion expenditure in the 2019 financial year.

Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) has indicted management of the National Assembly and the National Assembly Service Commission for embarking on an unexplained N9.424 billion expenditure in the 2019 financial year.

About N5.521 billion of such expenditure was credited to the House of Representatives in five different audit queries; N3.595 billion was credited to the Senate in seven audit queries; and N307.676 million was credited to the National Assembly Service Commission in two audit queries.

The queries are contained in the ‘AuGF Annual Report on Non-compliance/Internal Control Weakness Issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Year Ended December 31, 2019’.

The report (reference number AuGF/AR.2019/02), addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly and dated September 15, 2021, was signed by the AuGF, Adolphus Aghughu.

According to the report, N2.550 billion was granted to members of the House of Representatives as running cost between July and December 2019 without evidence to show what the funds were used for, neither was the money retired.

It also said N258 million was given to 59 staff of the House, while another N107.912 million was given to two staff for repairs and maintenance of unspecified residential quarters, denying government of the statutory Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT) of N10,791,296 accruable, if the work had been awarded to contractors.

The report said N1,594,807,097.83 was paid to revenue authorities between February and December 2019 as Pay As You Earn (six members); Car loan (five members); and housing loan (six members) without acknowledgment receipts from relevant revenue authorities.

It also queried payment of N1,010,598,610.97 from the salary account of the House without vouchers as required by law and asked the Clerk to explain the irregularities and ensure the amount involved is returned to government treasury.

It indicted the National Assembly Service Commission for failure to retire about N31.927 million cash advance granted to 59 staff of the commission and failure to remit one per cent stamp duty of N276,749,014.68.

It said further that about N219.645 million deducted as housing loan from some Senators were not remitted.

“The sum of N219,645,567.08 was deducted from 107 senators’ salary arrears between July and December 2019 as housing loan and there was no evidence to show that the above amount was remitted to the Treasury,” the report states.

It noted that N123.320 million and N176.267 million deducted from senators’ salary arrears between July and December 2019 as vehicle loans and PAYE from staff salaries were remitted to the appropriate authority.

The report said N277.411 million deducted as VAT and WHT from services rendered were not remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Services, while the office of the Clerk failed to present payment vouchers of N1,718,130,630.24 for audit verification.

Besides, N657.757 million was paid for the supply of vehicles and other office equipment in 16 payment vouchers that were not cleared by internal audit as required by law before such payments were made, while another N423.370 million was paid for the supply of utility vehicles and production of National Assembly logo between August and November 2019 from the capital account with no relevant document.

The House Committee on Public Account has, however, summoned the Clerk, Amos Ojo, to appear before it and respond to the queries.