Panel Summons Clerk As AG says NASS’s N9.4bn Unaccounted For
The Office of the Auditor General for the Federation has issued audit queries against the National Assembly and the National Assembly Service Commission over expenditures amounting to N9.424bn in 2019 which have not been allegedly accounted for.
Five audit queries against the House of Representatives were on N5.521bn expenditures, while the Senate got seven queries on spending totallingN3.595bn credited to the Senate.
The National Assembly Service Commission was also asked to explain expenditures totaling N307.676m in two audit queries.
The queries are contained in the ‘Auditor-General for the Federation’s Annual Report on Non-Compliance/Internal Control Weaknesses Issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Year Ended 31st December, 2019.’
The Acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, had presented the report to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Ojo Amos, on September 15, 2021, while the Senate and House Committees on Public Accounts began investigation into the queries.
The report said a total sum of N2.55bn given to members of the House of Representatives as running costs between July and December 2019 could not be accounted for as there were no evidences to show how the funds were utilised nor retired.
The auditor-general also said a total sum of N258m was released to 59 staff members of the House, while another N107.912m was given to two workers for repairs and maintenance of unspecified residential quarters.
The office said the expenditure procedure denied the government the statutory Value Added Tax and Withholding Tax of N10,791,296 accruable if the work had been awarded to contractors.
According to the report, another N1,594,807,097.83 was paid to revenue authorities between February and December 2019 as Pay As You Earn for six members, car Ioan for five members and housing loan for six members without acknowledgment receipts from the relevant revenue authorities.
The office also queried the payment of N1,010,598,610.97 from the salary account of the House without payment vouchers as required by law.
The auditor-general asked the Clerk to the National Assembly to explain the irregularities and ensure the funds were returned to the government treasury.
Consequently, the House Committee on Public Accounts, which is chaired by Oluwole Oke, has summoned the Clerk to the National Assembly, Ojo Amos, to appear before it and respond to the audit queries.
While the summon was issued before the National Assembly embarked on Christmas and New Year break, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, had suspended all legislative activities till after resumption on January 18, 2022.