The Senate Committee on Public Accounts (SCPAs) has asked the Federal Ministry of Finance to account for N2.8 billion service wide votes it collected from the Federation Account for estacodes and other allowances for representing Nigeria during the internationally organized annual board meetings, conferences and workshops in 2018.
Mathew Urhoghide, the Chairman of the SCPAs, while reading the 2018 Auditor General’s report to query the unaccounted expenditures pointed out that the amount of N2.89 billion was earmarked for the estacodes and other allowances out of which only a paltry N114 million was accounted for.
“During our audit, it was observed that the sum of N2.89 billion was released to the Federal Ministry of Finance from the Service Wide Vote. This is to take care of estacodes and other allowances for representing the federal government in internationally organized annual board meetings, conferences and workshops including contribution to the Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Of this amount, payment vouchers were raised for the sum of N114 million leaving the sum of N2.78 billion unaccounted for” he said.
Mathew also noted that the infraction was due to the failure of the permanent secretary to seek approval from the appropriate authorities to incur the unaccounted expenditure. Hence, he insisted that someone account for how the money was spent. According to him, “the ministry may carry out such unauthorized or unapproved expenditure that may lead to diversion of public funds for other purposes. It may also lead to mismanagement and underutilization of public funds.”
Expressing dissatisfaction with the abuse of service-wide vote by government agencies, he vowed to investigate its management by the MDAs in 2021 budget.
Frontpage February 14, 2019