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National Assembly Fails To Account For N9 Billion – Audit Report

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The National Assembly management failed to account for a total expenditure of over N9.4 billion in 2014, the latest audit report has revealed.

The money included N9.39 billion for which no “documentary evidence” was provided and a N47 million to be returned to government coffers out of which only N360,000 was returned; giving a total of N9,440,844,572 (nine billion, four hundred and forty million, eight hundred and four thousand, five hundred and seventy two Naira).

The audit report of government bodies (2009-2014) was submitted to the Clerk to the National Assembly in March 2016 as statutorily provided. The full contents were recently publicly disclosed by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation on its website.

The report indicted several government bodies of illegal and profligate spending, and failing to remit over N3 trillion into government’s treasury.

Apart from the National Assembly, other key bodies indicted include the state oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ministry of Interior, the Presidency, Central Bank of Nigeria and some foreign missions.

According to the report, between January and December, 2014 under the leadership of David Mark as Senate President and Salisu Maikasuwa as the Clerk, the Management Department of the National Assembly Commission transferred N9,392,995,515.00 (Nine billion, three hundred and ninety-two million, nine hundred and ninety-five thousand, five hundred and fifteen naira) from the general services account to other accounts in different banks.

The purposes stated for the transfer include Senate General Services, Appropriation, Constitutional Review, House of Representatives Services, UNDP Projects and Research Office Services.

However, “no expenditure returns or documentary evidence were rendered to account for how these sums were expended,” the report said, raising question of accountability and legality.

In another case, the report disclosed that the National Assembly management remitted only N360,000, out of a N47 million balance of total personnel vote release and actual expenditure for 2014.

“It was further observed that the total Personnel Vote release for the year 2014 was N1,856,510,517.00 (One billion, eight hundred and fifty-six million, five hundred and ten thousand, five hundred and seventeen naira), and the Actual Expenditure for the same period was N1,808,661,460.18 (One billion, eight hundred and eight million, six hundred and sixty-one thousand, four hundred and sixty naira, eighteen kobo), resulting in a balance of N47,849,057.00 (Forty-seven million, eight hundred and forty-nine thousand, fifty-seven naira).

“However, only an amount of N360,115.08 (Three hundred and sixty thousand, one hundred and fifteen naira, eight kobo) was paid back to treasury at the end of the year.”

No Denial

In May – after the audit report had been submitted to the National Assembly, the Senate Committee on Public Accounts led by Andy Uba (PDP-Anambra) held a public hearing during which a number of government bodies refuted certain findings of the audit report, particularly the disclosure that they didn’t submit their internal audit reports between 2009 and 2014.

Some of the bodies that challenged aspects of the report were CBN, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and Nigeria Pension Commission.

However, the National Assembly has not denied the findings of the audit report as they related to the lawmaking body – though its committee castigated the then Auditor-General of the Federation, Samuel Ukara, for an “unsatisfactory report”, cashing in on complaints by other government bodies.

The law says the National Assembly should refer the audit report to its committee on Public Accounts for consideration.

After considering the report, the committee is empowered to pass a resolution to either publish the report in the National Assembly journal or government’s official gazette.

Since the committee considered the report, it has not passed the resolution for its publication in either channel.

Efforts to reach Mr. Uba for comments were not fruitful. He did not pick calls to his phone or reply to text message.

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Police arrest wanted Abuja kidnapper, Dahiru after Wike’s N20m Bounty

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Operatives of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command have arrested a wanted notorious kidnapper, Saidu Abdulkadir, popularly known as Dahiru Adamu.

This comes barely three days after the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike placed a N20m bounty on the suspect and one other wanted kidnapper, Abu Ibrahim.

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PHOTOS: FG welcomes Super Eagles with breakfast

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The Super Eagles have arrived in the Federal Capital Territory after their second-place finish at the just concluded African Cup of Nations final.

Players including Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa, Victor Osimhen, Ola Aina, Frank Onyeka, Calvin Bassey, Ademola Lookman, Kenneth Omeruo, Joe Aribo and Williams Troost-Ekong were at the welcome breakfast at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

Members of the coaching crew are also at the breakfast.

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Hardship: We Plan To Establish A National Commodity Board To Crash Food Prices – VP Shettima

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Vice President, Kashim Shettima, disclosed this on Tuesday during a two-day high-level strategic meeting on climate change, food systems and resource mobilization held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to Shettima, the board’s mandate includes assessing and regulating food prices, as well as overseeing a strategic food reserve to stabilize prices of critical grains and other essential food items.

“Our solution to the potential food crisis has become immediate, medium, and long-term strategies. The short-term strategy entails revitalizing the food supply through specific interventions like the distribution of fertilizers and grains to farmers and households to counteract the effects of subsidy removal; fostering collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources for efficient farmland irrigation, ensuring year-round food production, and addressing price volatility by establishing a National Commodity Board.
“This board will continually assess and regulate food prices, maintaining a strategic food reserve for stabilizing prices of crucial grains and other food items,” Shettima said.

On how the government is handling the security challenges that have prevented farmers from working on their farms, he said:

“I wish to assure you that we will engage our security architecture to protect the farms and the farmers so that farmers can return to the farmlands without fear of attacks.
“We won’t only make it safe for farmers to return to their farms, but we will also ensure the activation of land banks. There are currently 500,000 hectares of already mapped land that will be used to increase the availability of arable land for farming, which will immediately impact food output.”

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