An audit report, the latest on the National Assembly, has shown that the country’s legislative body failed to explain what happened to a total expenditure of over N9.4 billion in 2014, according to a report by Premium Times.
The report broke the money as including N9.39 billion which had no documentary evidence of being spent for anything, and another N47 million that was supposed to be returned to government coffers.
However, the audit report said only N360,000 was returned.
The audit report was said to have been submitted to the clerk to the National Assembly in March 2016 as statutorily provided, but its content was made public recently by the office of the country’s auditor-general.
It was learnt that the 2009-2014 report indicted various government organisations of failing to remit over N3 trillion into government’s treasury, apart from being extravagant in their spending.
Some of those allegedly indicted include the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the ministry of Interior, the presidency, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and foreign missions.
The report said between January and December, 2014, under David Mark as president of the Senate and chairman of the National Assembly, and Salisu Maikasuwa as the clerk, a department of the National Assembly Commission transferred N9,392,995,515.00 from the general services account to other accounts in different banks and that the purpose reportedly given for the transfers included Senate general services, appropriation, constitutional review, House of Representatives services, UNDP projects and research office services.
The report said no expenditure returns or documentary evidence were rendered to account for how these sums were expended.
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The report added: “It was further observed that the total Personnel Vote release for the year 2014 was N1,856,510,517.00 (One billion, eight hundred and fifty-six million, five hundred and ten thousand, five hundred and seventeen naira), and the Actual Expenditure for the same period was N1,808,661,460.18 (One billion, eight hundred and eight million, six hundred and sixty-one thousand, four hundred and sixty naira, eighteen kobo), resulting in a balance of N47,849,057.00 (Forty-seven million, eight hundred and forty-nine thousand, fifty-seven naira).
“However, only an amount of N360,115.08 (Three hundred and sixty thousand, one hundred and fifteen naira, eight kobo) was paid back to treasury at the end of the year.”
The Premium Times report said while some government agencies denied some of the claims in the audit report, the National Assembly had remained silent over its indictment.
The only semblance of a grudge was when a committee criticised the office of the auditor-general, then headed by Samuel Ukara, for what was described as unsatisfactory report.
The National Assembly is also said not to have passed a resolution to publish the report in its journal or the government’s official gazette as required by the law.
The highest the legislative body has gone is to allow its committee on public account consider the report.
The report said Andy Uba, who chaired the committee, could not be reached as he refused to pick his calls or respond to a text message.
The eighth National Assembly has been rocked by series of crises resulting in alleged poor output and rating among the citizens of the country.
Apart from a leadership crisis that almost got the soul of the lawmaking organ of the government, the Senate had been rocked by an allegation of fraud against its president, Bukola Saraki as well as an allegation that Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, doctored the rules of the current session.
At the House of Representatives, crisis of leadership and an allegation that Speaker Yakubu Dogara and others padded the budget have reportedly continued to hinder smooth lawmaking.