#Nigeria: Corruption Rumble Hits National Assembly As OAUGF Indicts Lawmakers of Spending Unexplained N9.424besh

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Abuja — Federal government through the Office of the Auditor General for the federation, OuAGF has fingered the management of the National Assembly and the National Assembly Service Commission in a yet-to-be explained N9.424 billion expenditue in 2019.

Of the amount, the Senate spent N3.595 billion while the House of Representatives got N5.521 billion.

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Similarly, the National Assembly Service Commission spent N307.676 million.

These revelations were contained in 7 audit queries issued to the Senate, 5 similar queries to the House and 2 audit queries to the Commission by the OAUGF.

Essentially, the queries were found in the “Auditor General for 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 31st December 2019”

The Report with reference AuGF/AR.2019/02, addressed to the clerk to the National Assembly and dated 15th September 2021 was signed by the Auditor General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu.

The report further stated that N2.550 billion earmarked for House members as running costs between July and December 2019.

Incidentally, the report stated that there were lack of evidence detailing what the funds were used for or that it was at any time retired.

The report further stated that the sum of N258 million was paid to 59 staff of the House just as N107.912 million was given to two staff for repairs and maintenance of unspecified residential quarters, denying government of the statutory VAT and WHT of 10,791,296 accruable if the work had been awarded to contractors.

The AuGF report also said that the sum of N1,594,807,097.83 was paid to revenue authorities between February and December 2019 as PAYE (6 members), Car Ioan (5 members) and Housing loan (6 embers) without acknowledgment receipts from the relevant revenue authorities.

Similarly, it unmasked the payment of N1,010,598,610.97 from the salary account of the House without payment vouchers as required by law.

To this end, the Office has demanded explanation from the Clerk to the National Assembly, Amos Ojo, also seeking the return of the fund to the government coffers.

The report also frowned at the National Assembly Service Commission for not retiring about N31.927 million cash advance granted to 59 staff of the commission, saying also that it failed to remit one percent stamp duty amounting to N276,749,014.68.

Similarly, about N219.645 million deducted as housing loan from some Senators were not remitted to the appropriate quarters.

“The sum of N219,645,567.08 was deducted from one hundred and seven (107) Senators’ salary arrears between July and December 2019 as housing loans, and there was no evidence to show that the above amount was remitted to the Treasury”, it stated.

The query further revealed 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 were remitted where necessary.

The report also said that the sum N277.411 deducted as VAT and WHT from services rendered were not remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Services, just as the Clerk’s office ignored the payment vouchers amounting to N1,718,130,630.24 for audit verification.

The report also stated that the sum of N657.757 million was paid for the supply of vehicles and other office equipment in 16 payment vouchers without clearance by the Internal Audit as a prerequisite to making payments.

Similarly, the query uncovered the payment of N423.370 million for the supply of utility vehicles

and production of National Assembly Logo between August and November 2019 from the Capital account with no relevant, convincing documents attached for details of such transactions.

To give necessary explanations to the financial irregularities and indictment therefore, the House Committee on Public Account, PAC, chaired by Hon. Wole Oke before the House proceeded on Christmas holidays summoned Ojo to appear before it upon resumption on January 18, 2022.

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