Senate raises alarm over possible loss of FG’s N478m in Aso Savings Bank

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Senate

As Lawmakers uphold indictment report of mismanagement of N180m by NYSC

By Henry Umoru – Abuja

The Senate has exposed a possible loss of N478 million meant for Zungeru power project in Aso Savings and Loans PLC.

According to the Senate, the deposit was meant for payment of compensation to displaced persons under the Zungeru power project for the purpose of securing housing facilities for staff of the Ministry of Power.

Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo South led Senate Committee on Public Accounts is raising the alarm of how the mismanagement of the money deposited in the Aso Savings and Loans was carried out.

The Senator  Urhoghide led  Committee is relying on the query raised by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation in the 2015 report and brought before it for probe and subsequent presentation to the Senate at Plenary.

The query read,  ” The examination of various bank statements belonging to the Ministry of Power revealed that the sum of N2 billion was deposited into a savings and loans Account since, December 2013.

“The Ministry should provide the backing document to enable me to carry out proper audit checks on the operation of this account, particularly, the interest accrued on the deposit.”

The Ministry of Power in a written response said that the money was deposited in the Aso Savings and Loans PLC under the Zungeru Power Project.

It was also discovered that the Ministry wrote the Accountant General of the Federation in a letter dated 20th December 2012 for the  approval and the Office of the Accountant General gave the approval on 14th of January, 2013 to open the Account

The Account number was 0013465399 with a deposit of N2 billion.

In 2015, the Bank failed to honor mandates issued by the Ministry of Power to collect the money due.

The Ministry has collected about N1.6 billion from the Bank remaining the balance of N478 million to be paid.

The balance of N478 million in the bank is expected to accommodate M/S Alagbe – N11 million, Ministry of Lands and Housing Niger state – N378.8 million, and Federal Inland Revenue (FIRS)- N88 million.

On his part, the Chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Urhoghide however demanded the bank statement and how much the Ministry made from the transaction.

Meanwhile, the Senate  has sustained the  2015 indictment report of the Office of Auditor General of the Federation against the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) which is mismanagement of about N180 million in the agency

Series of invitations extended by the Senate Committee on Public Account to the NYSC to come and defend the indictment report by the office of Auditor General of the Federation were ignored by the NYSC.

The query read,   “Examination of sampled payment vouchers of NYSC revealed that vouchers totaling N65,414,535.54 (Sixty-five million, four hundred and fourteen thousand, five hundred and thirty-five naira, fifty-four kobo) were not supported with relevant documents such as receipts, invoice, etc.  This is contrary to Financial Regulation 603 which states that “all vouchers shall contain all particulars of each service, such as dates, numbers, quantities, distances, rates, as to enable them to be checked without reference to any other documents.  They are to be supported by relevant documents such as local purchase orders, invoice, special letters of authority, timesheets, etc

“The Director-General has been requested to explain why payments should be made without relevant supporting documents and also forward the supporting documents to my Office, otherwise the expenditure will not be accepted as a legitimate charge to public funds.

“It was observed that some state offices of NYSC made several payments totaling N115,778,287.28 (One hundred and fifteen million, seven hundred and seventy-eight thousand, two hundred and eighty-seven naira, twenty-eight kobo), but the associated payment vouchers were not presented for examination.  It was not possible to confirm whether the payments were in the public interest.  Refusal to make the payment vouchers available for audit examination is an indication that the expenditures may not have been in the interest of the public.

“The Director-General has been requested to explain why the payment vouchers were not made available for audit examination and also forward them to my Office, otherwise the expenditure will not be accepted as a legitimate charge to public funds.”

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