Missing N10 Billion; Agency Ignores Senate Invitation

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CEM REPORT | The Nigerian Senate has resolved to issue an arrest warrant against the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (retd.).

The Senate Public Accounts Committee, Chairman, Senator Matthew Urhogbide, made the resolutions after the PAP’s Interim Administrator ignored the invitation of the committee on three different occasions.

The committee had invited Dikio and his team to answer questions bordering on allegations on the failure of the agency to account for N10 billion.

Urhoghide, commenting, said he wondered why a government agency that received statutory allocation approved by the National Assembly could refuse to appear before the National Assembly to give account of the money spent.

He explained that the action of the PAP interim administrator and his team left the committee no choice but to issue a warrant of arrest on the Accounting Officer of the PAP.

“They have consistently refused to appear before the committee, which is very unfortunate.

“We will issue warrant of arrest on the Accounting Officer of the PAP. We are left with no other option than to issue a warrant of arrest on the Accounting Officer of the PAP.”

CEM gathered that the agency’s Interim Administrator was first invited in a letter dated January 25, 2022 and scheduled to appear on February 3, 2022 but failed.

In another letter, officials of the agency were expected to appear on June 16, 2022, following an invitation, dated May 19, 2022 but again did not appear.

Perhaps the straw that broke the camels back was the invitation, dated June 28, 2022, sent to the agency to appear before the committee on July 5, 2022, but failed.

The PAP’s Interim Administrator was invited by the committee to respond to queries against the agency contained in the 2018 Report of the Auditor General of the Federation.

Extract of the AuGF’s query reads: “Audit observed that N324,969,190.00 was paid to some members of staff vide six payment vouchers for hosting ex-agitators, 150 leaders of ex-agitators, and logistics for various trainings, etc, in 2015 financial year.

“However, these vouchers and attached supporting documents revealed that the payments were made into single person’s accounts on behalf of other beneficiaries in contravention of the aforementioned provisions.

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“In the same vein, payment vouchers were raised and paid for N3,465,713,500.00 in the 2016 financial year as monthly stipends to ex-agitators in various camps.

“These payments were made without due recourse to the e-payment policy of the Federal Government where the amount should have been paid direct to the accounts of the beneficiaries.

“This may lead to diversion of public funds for purposes other than intended.

“The Special Adviser is required to explain and justify why payments of amounts totalling N3,790,682,690.00 were made into single person’s accounts on behalf of other beneficiaries, instead of individual payee accounts.

“The Special Advisor should also provide clear evidence that the amounts due to each beneficiary were received in full by the individuals, failing which sanctions, in line with provisions of Financial Regulations 3106, 3127 and 3128, should apply.”

Another query reads: “Audit observed that payment voucher number OSAPNDOC-/848/15 for N136,930,500.00, dated December 22, 2015, was paid to a vendor without relevant supporting documents, such as letter of agreement, cost of logistics, list of Niger Delta Youths’ beneficiaries for a purported training event on Automobile Manufacturing Maintenance, etc, and this contravened the above quoted Financial Regulation provision.

“Furthermore, another contractor was paid via payment voucher number SAPND/OCC/19/2019, dated June 16, 2017, in the sum of N99,928,500.00 was made to a contractor for the supply of agricultural equipment/starter-packs for empowerment of 100 delegates without relevant supporting documents, like award letters, store receipt vouchers (SRV), etc.

“The Special Adviser is required to provide the relevant supporting documents, otherwise refund of N236,859,000.00 to the Treasury and details of refund forwarded to National Assembly and the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation. Sanction, in line with Section 3106 of the Financial Regulation, should apply.”

The AuGF, in another query, said: “Audit observed that three payment vouchers totalling N147,812,347.00 were made in 2015 financial year for contract awarded in 2011 and 2013 financial year for training of delegates in vocational skills.

“Further examination of the payment voucher and the attached documents revealed that the payments were made in 2015 without revalidation of the approvals.

“The payment for the contracts of the vocational skills seems not to have been paid within the year of execution and as such the budgeted amount for the vocational training should ordinarily have lapsed and returned to government coffers as at 31st December of the year as stipulated in Financial Regulation 413 (i) and provision for their payment should be made in the subsequent year’s budget.”

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