December 8, 2022

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SPAC as Albatross of MDAs on mismanagement of public funds 


Senate Committee on Public Accounts (SPAC), has within the current ninth Nationwide Meeting been thorn within the flesh of public officers allegedly mismanaging public funds. TAIYE ODEWALE stories

Essence of Public Accounts Committee 

As a means of preventing corruption, the importance of Public Accounts Committee at each chambers of the Nationwide Meeting is captured within the 1999 Structure by the use of making it the one committee constitutionally recognised.

The committee is also given the authorized tooth to work hand in hand with the Workplace of the Auditor – Normal of the Federation on how appropriated public funds are spent by the varied federal authorities owned Ministries, Departments and Companies (MDAs).

Expectedly, the committees at each chambers of the Nationwide Meeting, have since 1999 been attempting to make the varied MDAs to be accountable and clear of their expenditures by subjecting them to rigorous interrogations on any queries bordering on monetary infractions raised in opposition to them by the workplace of Auditor – Normal of the Federation (AuGF).

Nevertheless, such efforts of the committees haven’t considerably caused transparency and accountability within the administration of public fund by the varied MDAs, the explanation why at inception, the ninth Nationwide Meeting, resolved to make the committees stronger and biting of their interrogation of audit stories.

Harder measures by the ninth Nationwide Meeting 

In making their investigation of audit stories extra bitting so far as the warfare in opposition to corruption is anxious, the Public Accounts Committee of each the Home of Representatives and the Senate, had from July 2019 to now, put administration workers of most of the MDAs on their toes as regards alleged monetary infractions.

The newest of such had been those carried out within the Senate by the Committee headed by Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South).

Penultimate week, the committee turned the warmth on administration of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Company (NIMASA) over alleged $5m cost to a legislation agency for service not rendered by given the administration 48hours ultimatum to supply evidential paperwork after failed makes an attempt by consultant of the company, Olamide Olusanya to justify the spending.

In giving the order, the Chairman of the committee stated: “We’d like the small print of the cost, return to your archives and produce it out.

“Tell us the transaction between your workplace and that of the Legal professional Normal of the Federation  earlier than you paid the cash.

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The Committee had invited NIMASA as much as thrice for the reason on the cost of $5 million as skilled payment and particulars of $9.3 billion loss by the federal authorities, however the company declined the invitation.

The report of the Auditor Normal sighted by our correspondent revealed that each one efforts by the Auditor of the Federation to see the small print of $9.3 billion loss by the Federal authorities for thorough  scrutiny was not granted by NIMASA.

In line with AuGF report, the cash was paid from Zenith Financial institution (UK), greenback account.

The question reads, “Audit noticed that the company engaged the service of a authorized agency by a letter with reference quantity NIMASA/DG/KP/2014/001, dated twenty fourth January 2014 for the intelligence based mostly monitoring of world motion of Nigerian Hydro-Carbon and restoration of loss by the federal authorities of Nigeria within the sum of USD9.3billion between 2013 and 2014, with a start-off price of USD5million and 5% of all sums recovered. 

“Cost instruction with reference quantity NIMASA/2007/DFS/WJ/5.500/VOL.11/341 dated April 2014 confirmed that the agency was paid the sum of $4,523,809.52 (4 million 5 hundred and twenty three thousand eight hundred and 9 greenback fifty two cents solely) web as skilled charges from Zenith Financial institution (UK) greenback account. 

“The naira equal of this quantity was N741,904,761.28 at an alternate fee of N164 to a greenback as of that date. 

“No proof of restoration of both half or the whole sum of the 9.3 Billion US {Dollars} was introduced as on the time of the Periodic Verify in February 2018, regardless of the large sum of money already paid to this impact. 

“It’s instructive to notice that particulars of the transaction resulting in the lack of USD9.3billion to the Federal Authorities which solely got here to audit consideration by the evaluate of the letter from the company to the authorized agency in order to establish what might have transpired, leading to such an enormous loss weren’t introduced for audit. 

“Ordinarily, the agency ought to have deducted its charges from the quantities recovered for the FGN, and never obtain charges prematurely in lieu of the recoveries. 

“Audit is anxious that funds was made for service not rendered and this can be a deliberate try to divert authorities funds for private use. 

“The Director-Normal is required to justify the cost for service not rendered, failing which the sum of N741,904,761.28 must be recovered from the authorized agency and paid into the CRF, forwarding proof of cost to the Public Account Committees of the Nationwide Meeting and to the Workplace of Auditor-Normal for the Federation for verification. Sanctions acknowledged in FR 3104 ought to apply. He’s additionally required to supply particulars of the transaction(s) resulting in the lack of 9.3 Billion US {Dollars} for thorough scrutiny.”

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Comparable warmth from the committee was turned on current and previous administration of Nigeria Social Insurance coverage Belief Fund (NSITF), final week Wednesday over N17.158 billion transferred from Skye and First Financial institution Accounts of the company to untraceable ones between January and December 2013.

Auditor – Normal’s workplace had within the 2018 Audit report, raised 50 completely different queries bordering on alleged misappropriation of funds by administration of the company, that are being appeared into by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts.

Particularly on the N17.158billion unsubstantiated transfers made by NSITF , the question reads:  “Administration of NSITF as proven in statements of Account No. 1750011691 with Skye financial institution plc, for the interval 1st January, 2013 to twentieth December, 2013, and Statements of Account No.2001754610 with First Financial institution Plc for the interval seventh January, 2013 to twenty eighth February, 2013, transferred  quantities totalling N17,158,883,034.69billion to some individuals and firms from these accounts.

“Nevertheless, cost vouchers regarding the transfers along with their supporting paperwork weren’t offered for audit. Consequently, the aim(s) for the transfers couldn’t be authenticated.

“These  are in violation of Monetary rule 601 which states that “All cost entries within the cashbook/accounts shall be vouched for on one of many prescribed treasury kinds. Vouchers shall be made out in favour of the particular person or individuals to whom the cash is definitely due. 

“Certainly not shall a cheque be raised, or money paid for providers for which a voucher has not been raised”.

In sustaining or vacating the question, the Senate Committee headed by Senator Mathew Urhoghide ( PDP Edo South), interrogated NSITF’s previous and current managements  on the place monies totalling  N17.158billion had been transferred to between January and December 2013.

However neither of the managements might supply passable explanations on the undocumented a number of transfers as these on the helm of affairs in 2013 instructed the committee that paperwork like vouchers had been left behind by them whereas the current Managing Director of NSITF , Dr Michael Akabogu stated no paperwork of such is of their kitty.

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“The  Container the stated paperwork had been saved by previous administration has not solely been  beating by rains over time however even presumably  being eaten up by termites.

“As directed by this committee, I instructed the previous administration officers on the necessity for them to assist us out in answering this question with obligatory paperwork which haven’t been made out there for us “, he stated. 

Nevertheless in his submissions, the Managing Director of NSITF from 2010 to 2016, Mallam Umar Munir Abubakar stated he was unaware of the question and don’t have any explanations for it for the reason that audit was not carried out throughout his tenure.

However his successor, Mr Adebayo Somefun who was head of the company from Might 2017 to July 2020, stated these within the account part ought to have the ability to hint the  paperwork which the present  Normal Supervisor Finance, alleged to have been locked up in an deserted container inside the premises of the Belief Fund in Abuja.

Irked by submissions of the previous and current NSITF officers, the committee by its Chairman, Senator Urhoghide, descended closely on them by ordering them to re – seem earlier than the committee with all of the requested evidential paperwork unfailingly  on Thursday, September 22, 2022.

“This committee has given you individuals greater than sufficient time to reply to queries slammed on NSITF within the 2018 Audit report by the workplace of Auditor Normal of the Federation.

“The queries are 50 in quantity starting from one misappropriation to the opposite in billions of Naira. The one on N17.158billion a number of transfers carried out in 2013 has not been answered in any respect, to not speak of N5.5billion allegedly diverted  right into a industrial checking account with out approval, N2.2billion unauthorized Funding with out satisfactory information and so forth.

“These are utterly unacceptable and the committee will ensure  that these queries are sustained if required evidential paperwork on monies spent or  misappropriated, are usually not offered”, he stated.

Definitely if thorough investigations being carried out by Public Accounts Committee of each chambers on queries raised in opposition to affected  MDAs by the workplace of Auditor Normal is sustained, instances of economic misappropriation by them can be minimised .