OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has queried the office of the Auditor General for the Federation (OAuGF) of reckless expenditure as observed in its financial records between 2019 and 2021.
The House also frowned at the AuGF over pseudo expenditure even in the face of the crippling covid-19 pandemic which saw many agencies of government operating under low level.
The queries were raised during an oversight function to the oAuGF headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday. Chairman and members of the House Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Wole Oke (Osun, PDP), picked holes in the financial records as they perused through vouchers and other supporting documents.
Some of the subheads queried by the lawmakers include: N1.9 million allegedly spent on new clinic and additional sum of N3.967 million spent on drugs and medical supplies as well as N7.721 million spent on medical consulting despite payment of N55.933 million as NHIS contribution as contained in the 2020 financial statement against N87.870 million NHIS contribution paid in 2019.
The oversight which transmuted into a regular legislative session for the committee also saw the lawmakers demanding for the staff nominal roll of the office of the Auditor General for the Federation over increase in the N1.977 billion personnel cost for 2019 to N1.991 billion was appropriated in 2020, despite the depleting workforce and the request for 500 new staff.
However, a visit to the clinic which is located on the first floor of the Audit House, revealed that there were only two female nurses dressed in mufti and a medium oxygen cylinder beside a single and the only bed in the supposed health facility.
According to the documents presented to the Committee, out of total sum of N984.231 million budget appropriated in 2019, the sum of N969.487 million was released for which training got a larger chunk of the released fund.
The lawmakers however pointed to the reckless expenditure of the sums of N120,304,830 spent on international travels & transport (audit of foreign mission, consular offices & 20 defence attaches); N40,710,380 spent on local travels & Transport (training), additional N286,881,055.18 on local travels & transport, others (hqtrs/State branch office and additional N100,093,600 spent on local travels as well as N35,710,812 spent on Auditors-General annual conference without specifying the location and vouchers; N3.527,267 spent on sporting activities; N11,946,250 spent on welfare packages without specifying beneficiaries and vouchers; N59 million spent on Governance/Institutional reforms as well as beneficiaries of N696,500 spent on honourarium and sitting allowances and N62.768 million spent on office stationaries/computer consumables for the period under review.
In the same vein, the oAuGF reportedly spent N28,850,080 on purchase of unspecified number of desktops and laptops computers as well as the sum of N49,999,616.88 without any payment vouchers.
During the visit, the lawmakers also queried the total sum of N1.358 billion appropriated for overheads in 2020 out of which N1.324 billion was released and spent despite the economic lockdown at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing them to lament that larger chunk of the fund was expended on training/local travels and transportation, while subheads on office rehabilitation and maintenance were duplicated in the capital component of the 2020 financial records made available to the Committee during the oversight function.
However, the Auditor General struggled to tender documents to justify the expenses queried by the lawmakers.