The Nigerian Senate kick-started an investigation into the alleged illegal payment of N19billion by the Budget Office to four federal agencies without obtaining the necessary approval.
The Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) said the 2016 report of the Auditor General for the Federation (AuGF) alleged that the N19 billion was paid to four agencies through a verbal directive by the Director-General of the Budget Office in 2015.
The AuGF in the 2016 report said, “Four MDAs were paid the sum of N19bn from the service-wide vote without the approval of the Honorable Minister of Finance.
“Some of the payments were made on a purported verbal directive from the director-general.
“This act is against Financial Regulations 301 and 302 which states that ‘recurrent expenditure is paid from CRF and no expenditure may be incurred except on the authority of a warrant issued by the Minister of Finance’.”
The AuGF directed the director-general to provide evidence of approval from the Ministry of Finance for the expenditures or recover N19 billion from benefiting MDAs.
However, Officials of the Budget Office did not appear before the committee at the hearing on Tuesday.
The Chairman of the committee, Matthew Urhoghide, stated that the Budget Office was supposed to be number one on the list of the agencies expected to respond to the Auditor General’s query, but failed to appear on Tuesday.
However, in a written response to the query of the auditor-general, the budget office said, “The details of the MDAs under reference have not been provided to enable us to respond appropriately.”