THE Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (oAuGF) has indicted the management of the National Assembly and the National Assembly Service Commission for embarking on an unexplained expenditure amounting to N9.424 billion in the 2019 financial year.
About N5.521 billion of such expenditure was credited to the House of Representatives in five different audit queries, N3.595 billion credited to the Senate in seven audit queries, while N307.676 million was credited to the National Assembly Service Commission in two audit queries.
Other audit queries include: over N1.595 billion car loan, N2.250 billion paid as running cost to members of the House of Representatives without requisite documents as well as non-remittance of N1.718 billion Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT) into Federal Government’s treasury as provided by extant financial regulations.
The audit queries were contained in the Auditor General of the Federation annual report on non-compliance/internal control weaknesses issues in ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the year ended December 31, 2019.
The report with reference AuGF/AR.2019/02, addressed to the Clerk to the National Assembly and dated September 15, 2021 was signed by the Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr Adolphus Aghughu.
The oAuGF in the report also queried the sum of N2.550 billion granted to members of the House of Representatives as running costs between July and December 2019 without evidence to show what the funds were used for, neither was the money retired.
It also said that the sum of N258 million was given to 59 members of staff of the House of Representatives, while another N107.912 million was given to two member of staff for repairs and maintenance of unspecified residential quarters, thereby denying government the statutory Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT) to the tune of N10,791,296 that would have accured if the work had been awarded to contractors.
The AuGF report also queried the sum of N1,594,807,097.83 paid to revenue authorities between February and December 2019 as PAYE (six members), car Ioan (five members) and Housing loan (six members) without acknowledgment receipts from the relevant revenue authorities.
It also queried the payment of N1,010,598,610.97 from the salary account of the House of Representatives without payment vouchers as required by law, while asking the clerk to the National Assembly to provide explanation for the irregularities and ensured that the amount involved is returned to government treasury.
It indicted the National Assembly Service Commission for failure to retire about N31.927 million cash advance granted to 59 members of staff of the commission as well as failure to remit one percent stamp duty amounting to N276,749,014.68.
It said further that about N219.645 million deducted as housing loan from some senators were not remitted.
It said “the sum of N219,645,567.08 was deducted from 107 senators’ salary arrears between July and December 2019 as housing loans, and there was no evidence to show that the amount was remitted to the Treasury.”
It also said that N123.320 million and N176.267 million deducted from senators salary arrears between July and December 2019 as vehicle loans and Pay as You Earn (PAYE) from staff salaries respectively were remitted to the appropriate authority.
The OAuGF also queried the non-remittance of total sum N277.411 deducted as VAT and WHT from services rendered to the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), while the office of the clerk failed to present payment vouchers amounting to N1,718,130,630.24 for audit verification.
In the same vein, the report said N657.757 million was paid for the supply of vehicles and other office equipment in 16 payment vouchers that were not cleared by internal audit as required by law before such payments were made, while another N423.370 million was paid for the supply of utility vehicles and production of National Assembly logo between August and November 2019 from the capital account with no relevant documents.
The House Committee on Public Account has, however, summoned the Clerk to the Nation Assembly, Amos Ojo, to appear before the committee to respond to the audit queries.
Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Wole Oke, said before the House went on Christmas break, the clerk should appear before the committee to respond to the auditor-general’s queries.