Crime

How MDAs frittered away N3.8trn under Buhari – Report

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How MDAs frittered away N3.8trn under Buhari – Report

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A report of the Senate has revealed how a number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government misused N3.8 trillion they received from the Service Wide Votes (SWV) within four years.

SWV is government’s contingency fund in the annual budget.

Senate Accounts Committee had probed the disbursement of N5 trillion from the SWV to more than 200 government agencies between 2017 and 2021, while ex-President Muhammadu Buhari was in power.

The committee, which was under the chairmanship of Senator Matthew Urhoghide, invited 207 government agencies for the investigation, but only 119 of them turned up.

Presenting the report of the panel to the Senate during Wednesday’s plenary Senator Urhoghide said his committee, after investigations, found out that many agencies collected fund from SWV without recourse to the National Assembly committees mandated by law to oversight the agencies.

The report of the committee and its recommendations were adopted by the Senate.

The lawmaker disclosed that some of the MDAs did not formally request for the money that was sent to them by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

He said even where the approval of the President was sought and obtained, some MDAs used the funds for unrelated expenditure purpose.

Uhroghide said some MDAs collected the fund for projects that were already budgeted for in the Appropriation Acts over the years.

According to him, “Hundreds of Billions of Naira were claimed to have been used for the purposes of paying salary shortfalls whereas such agencies had already collected appropriation for personnel emolument and were on the IPPIS platform.

“In some instances, huge sums of money were thrown at agencies which they didn’t apply for/or are not in the know of where the money came from and for what purpose.

“The IPPIS intervention towards meeting insufficiencies or shortfalls in personnel costs has been bastardized and running into huge sums of money needing legislative scrutiny.

“Most of the MDAs involved in the period under review deliberately avoided the Committee’s invitation for appearance and refused to make submissions, perhaps for lack of satisfactory explanations on the utilization of the funds released to them.”

After adopting the committee’s recommendations, Senate urged the Executive to use supplementary budget approach to meet emergencies instead of SWV, which it said amounts to affront/erosion of the approval powers of the National Assembly.

The committee also recommended that the Auditor-General for the Federation should be given full access by the Accountant General and other MDAs to audit Service Wide Vote expenditures annually and report to the National Assembly.

The lawmakers also demanded in-depth probe of the operations of IPPIS to stem the rising cases of irregularities in the system.

Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Transportation, Health, Works and Housing, Information and Culture, Mines and Steal Development, Police Affairs, Defence, Youths and Sports, Petroleum and Aviation are some of the agencies affected.

Others are: State House, Budget Office, Presidential Fleet, Nigerian Army, Navy, Airforce, NAFDAC, Civil Defence, Presidential Amnesty Programme, FERMA, NEMA, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Debt Management Office, INEC, North East Development Commission (NEDC), Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), National Examination Council (NECO), among others.