FG re­port un­cov­ers N27m scam in de­fence min­istry

The Punch - - NEWS - Olal­eye Aluko, Abuja

THe Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s an­nual Au­dit Re­port has re­vealed that the Fed­eral Min­istry of De­fence had fi­nan­cial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties of more than N27m in some of its vouch­ers for the 2016 fis­cal year.

The re­port from the Of­fice of the Au­di­tor-gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion, ti­tled, Au­di­tor­gen­eral’s An­nual Re­port on the Ac­counts of the Fed­er­a­tion of Nige­ria 2016, and ob­tained by our correspond­ent, showed that there were ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties to­tal­ing N20m in the Na­tional Plan­ning Com­mit­tee of the 2017 Armed Forces Re­mem­brance Day cel­e­bra­tion.

The re­port also said there was N7m in ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the min­is­ter of De­fence’s trip to the United States of Amer­ica on march 28, 2016, to at­tend a nu­clear sum­mit or­gan­ised by the United States of Amer­i­can’s Gov­ern­ment.

The de­fence min­is­ter at that time was Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan-ali (retd.); he was re­placed by Maj. Gen. Bashir Ma­gashi (retd.) by the Pres­i­dent, Ma­jor

Gen­eral muham­madu Buhari, in Au­gust 2019.

The AGF re­port stated, “Dur­ing the au­dit ex­am­i­na­tion of pay­ment vouch­ers raised at the min­istry of De­fence Head­quar­ters, Abuja, it was ob­served that 16 pay­ment vouch­ers for sums to­talling N11,160,340 were paid to 15 of­fi­cers of the min­istry be­tween may and De­cem­ber, 2016 to un­der­take var­i­ous ser­vices such as print­ing of doc­u­ments, pur­chase of sta­tionery, ren­o­va­tions and re­pairs of of­fices, fur­ni­ture, equip­ment, ve­hi­cles, etc. How­ever, au­dit ex­am­i­na­tion re­vealed the fol­low­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties:

“The sum of N20,311,838 was paid to an army of­fi­cer vide pay­ment voucher No. 5014 dated Oc­to­ber 17, 2016, for the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the Na­tional Plan­ning Com­mit­tee for year 2017 Armed Forces Re­mem­brance Day cel­e­bra­tion. Fur­ther scru­tiny of the voucher re­vealed the fol­low­ing; one, the pay­ment was made di­rectly to the of­fi­cer and not as cash ad­vance and there­fore, not prop­erly ac­counted for on com­ple­tion of the as­sign­ment.

“Se­condly, the de­tails and cost break­down of the ac­tiv­i­ties con­sti­tut­ing this ex­pen­di­ture were not made avail­able to au­then­ti­cate the gen­uine­ness of the ex­pen­di­ture.

“Three, all rel­e­vant sup­port­ing doc­u­ments such as re­ceipts, in­voices, store re­ceipts, vouch­ers, etc, were not at­tached to the pay­ment voucher, con­trary to Fi­nan­cial Reg­u­la­tion 603(i) which states that “All vouch­ers shall con­tain full par­tic­u­lars of each ser­vice, such as dates, num­bers, quan­ti­ties, dis­tances and rates, so as to en­able them to be checked with­out ref­er­ence to any other doc­u­ments and will in­vari­ably be sup­ported by rel­e­vant doc­u­ments such as lo­cal pur­chase or­ders, in­voices, spe­cial let­ters of author­ity, time sheets, etc.”

The Au­di­tor-gen­eral of the

Fed­er­a­tion’s re­port noted that it had asked the per­ma­nent sec­re­tary to com­ment on the in­frac­tions and pro­duce the rel­e­vant doc­u­ments but no re­sponse had been re­ceived yet as of the time of the re­port.

The re­port con­tin­ued, “Pay­ment voucher No. 1154 of march 24, 2016 for the sum of N7,422,482, was raised and paid in favour of a staff to pro­cure in­ter­na­tional travel tick­ets for the Honourable min­is­ter of De­fence and oth­ers to en­able them to travel to the United States of Amer­ica from march 28, 2016, to at­tend the Nu­clear Sum­mit or­gan­ised by the US Gov­ern­ment and a meet­ing of the Nige­ria–usa Bi-na­tional Com­mis­sion in Wash­ing­ton.

“Scru­tiny of the pay­ment voucher re­vealed the fol­low­ing; one, the amount was paid di­rectly to the of­fi­cer in­stead of the trav­el­ling agency which is­sued the ticket. This has thus re­sulted to a loss of 10 per cent With­hold­ing Tax and Value Added Tax rev­enue. Be­sides, there is no ev­i­dence that quo­ta­tions were re­ceived from three rep­utable trav­el­ling agen­cies for com­par­i­son and eval­u­a­tions be­fore the fare was ar­rived at, as re­quired by ex­tant reg­u­la­tions.

“Also, re­ceipts, in­voice and other rel­e­vant sup­port­ing doc­u­ments were nei­ther at­tached to the voucher be­fore pay­ment nor pro­duced for au­dit ver­i­fi­ca­tion. This ex­pen­di­ture is there­fore un-re­ceipted and il­le­git­i­mate. There was no let­ter of in­vi­ta­tion or any doc­u­ment at­tached to the voucher to in­di­cate the du­ra­tion of the meet­ings. The Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary was re­quested to com­ment on these in­frac­tions, and pro­duce the rel­e­vant doc­u­ments for ex­am­i­na­tion.”

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