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Reps failed to account for N2.5bn running costs in 2019 – Audit report



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MEMBERS of the Nigerian House of Representatives failed to give account of how they spent about N2.5 billion released to them from the national treasury as running costs in 2019.

This was disclosed in the 2019 Audit Report released by the auditor-general of the federation.

The report highlighted non-compliance and internal control weaknesses in the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the Nigerian Federal Government.


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The failure of the lawmakers to retire the funds they received as running costs contravened the Federal Government’s Financial Regulations.

Paragraph 1011(1) of the Financial Regulations states: “All outstanding imprests must be retired on or before 31st December of the Financial Year in which they are issued while Special Imprests shall be retired immediately the reasons for which they were granted cease to exist. Retirement will be effected by the production of vouchers and/or cash for the full amount of the imprest.”

According to the audit report, N2,550,000,000.00 (N2.5 billion) was granted to members of the House of Representatives as running costs between July and December 2019.

A breakdown of the disbursement of the funds shows that lawmakers from the North-East received a total of N187 million; South-South, N272 million; South-East, N442 million; North-Central, N391 million; South-West, N629 million and North-West, N629 million.

However, the audit report observed that “there was no evidence to show what the funds were used for” and “there were no retirement documents despite requests”

The report said the anomalies observed by the audit could be attributed to weaknesses in the internal control system of the Federal House of Representatives of the National Assembly.

The report further noted that the situation could lead to loss of government funds and diversion of public funds.

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The management of the National Assembly did not provide any response to enquiries raised in the audit, according to the report

In its recommendations, the report said the clerk of the National Assembly should explain why funds granted to lawmakers as running costs were not retired.

The clerk was also directed to recover the unretired running costs and remit same to the national treasury. The clerk was equally asked to forward evidence of remittance to the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly.

Should the concerned lawmakers fail to retire and return the funds, the report recommended the application of sanctions relating to non-retirement of advances and imprest as specified in paragraph 3124 of the Financial Regulations.

Other infractions observed in the management of funds in the House of Representatives included: grant of cash advances for repairs and maintenance of unspecified quarters beyond the statutory limit.

Extant financial regulations stipulate that N200,000 is the limit for cash advances, but the audit report observed that about N107.9 million was granted to two staff members of the House of Representatives for repairs and maintenance of unspecified residential quarters.

The report noted that the Federal Government was deprived of the statutory value added tax and withholding tax of N10,791,296 accruable if the work was awarded to contractors.

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In addition to the revenue lost by the government due to the shady award of the repair and maintenance contract, the report observed that there was no evidence to show that the N107.9 million released for the project was retired.

The audit report said the development raised concerns of possible payment for work not done, and diversion of public funds.

The management of the House of Representatives also failed to respond to questions concerning the irregular cash advances in the course of the audit.

Paragraph 220 (i) of the Financial Regulations states that sub-accounting officers who function as revenue collectors should record collections in their cash books, and acknowledge receipts on General Receipt Forms issued by the government.

However, in contravention of the regulation, the payments of about N1.5 billion – including Pay As You Earn (PAYE) from six lawmakers, car loan recovery from five lawmakers and housing loan recovered from six lawmakers  between February and December 2019 – were made without acknowledgment receipts from the relevant revenue authorities.

The report, which blamed the development on weaknesses in the internal control system of the lower legislative chamber of the National Assembly, noted that it posed a risk of loss of government revenue and diversion of public funds.

The clerk was asked to provide reasons for failing to acknowledge the payments with necessary receipts, and also recover and refund the N1.5 billion to the treasury, with relevant receipts as documented evidence.

The report recommended the application of sanctions contained in Financial Regulation 3112 in the event that the clerk was not able to recover and refund the money.

The 2019 audit report also found that about N1.10 billion was paid from the salary account in the House of Representatives without preparation of payment vouchers as required by extant regulations.

Noting that the development could lead to loss of government funds and diversion of public funds, the auditor-general said the clerk should provide reasons for making payments from the salary account without payment vouchers.

The clerk was equally asked to account for the N1.10 billion paid from the salary account without payment vouchers, and remit the money to the treasury.

The report recommended the application of sanctions relating to irregular payment, as specified in Paragraph 3106 of the Financial Regulations, if the clerk failed to account for the money and remit same to the treasury.

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