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Senate charges AGF to probe alleged fraud in SWV expenditure

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The Senate, yesterday, charged the acting Auditor General of the Federation (AGF), Aghughu Adolphus, to commence an investigation into allegations of fraud in the application of Service Wide Vote (SWV).

SWV is a huge amount of money in the annual national budget usually set aside to tackle unforeseen expenditures and it is disbursed by the AGF based on instructions from the Minister of Finance.

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Matthew Urhogide, declared during Aghughu’s screening at the National Assembly that the application of the SWV had been characterised by massive fraud.

Uhroghide said the fund was the biggest fraud because it was usually not audited, adding that N758b was approved for SWV in the 2021 budget.

“Service-wide vote is the biggest fraud in the country. It is meant to meet the unforeseen situation, but nobody gives an account of the service-wide vote. Standing Committees of the Senate do not know anything about its spending,” he said.

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He charged Aghughu to initiate an immediate probe into alleged fraud in the SWV application, saying it was good that the Senate was informed how the fund would be audited.

Responding, Aghughu assured the lawmakers that his office would look into the issue of non-auditing of the SWV, adding, however, that his office lacked constitutional powers to audit the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and other big spenders among government agencies.

On why the AGF has not been able to audit the NNPC, CBN, NPA and others, he said: “For the big spenders, the constitution is the issue. By virtue of the1999 Constitution, we will provide a list of what we need from them and they will make their choice, but if they decline we have no powers to compel them.”

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MEANWHILE, the National Consultative Front (NCFront) has commended Northern governors and the Senate for adopting their positions on cattle ranching overgrazing to douse rising ethnic strife and violence in the country.

The leaders of conscience of NCFront had on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, urged government at all levels to adopt cattle ranching instead of cattle grazing and weed out criminals from the nation’s forest, including Sambisa to tackle rising insecurity and ethnic violence in Nigeria.

A statement issued by its Head of Public Affairs Bureau, Dr. Tanko Yunusa, noted that NCFront reaffirmed that if the Northern governors and Senate’s decision was implemented on time, it would reduce farmers and herdsmen clashes and expose criminal elements killing Nigerians across the country.

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