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Reps probe Budget office over missing vehicles

By Tordue Salem

ABUJA— The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives, has directed the Budget office in the Presidency to recover two official vehicles allegedly carted away by its former Directors.

The Budget office, going by the queries raised by the Auditor- General’s office on its 2007 and 2008 budget expenditures, may also have to satisfy the Auditor-General and the Committee on what it did with over N400 million in the two fiscal years.

Query whereabouts of N400m

The DG, Dr. Bright Okogwu though made a lengthy submission before the Committee last Thursday, but failed to give a convincing explanation on the disappearance of the vehicles with the departure of the said directors. He however, provided a detailed response to queries raised on the N400 million.

The Public Accounts Committee led by Rep. Usman Adamu (PDP/Kano), also heard a query from the Auditor- General’s office on how government functionaries’  alleged ‘bogus’ and ‘phantom’ study leaves were purportedly paid for by the Budget office.

A break down of the extra-expenditure in the 2007, the Auditor-General’s office in its report for that year, observed that, “the audit examination of the accounting and other records maintained by the budget office, that the direct purchase of store items for which the sum of N2,461,000.00 was advanced to an officer, could not be confirmed as relevant supporting store receipt vouchers were not produced to authenticate payment.

“The Director, the Auditor-General’s office said, “has been told to produce the relevant documents, or otherwise recover the sum of N2,461,000.00 from the officer, forwarding recovery particulars for audit verification.

“We have gone through the books of accounts and other accounting records of the Budget office, for the year 2007 and could not find the release of the sum of N2,461,000.00 to any officer for the purchase of store items. This issue has been raised with the auditors and they promised to look into it.”

The Auditor-General’s office also raised a query in the same year, that “the payment (by the Budget office) of the sum of N1,757,000 as 5% tax deduction could not be confirmed as the payment voucher was not supported by relevant treasury receipts. The Director-General has been asked to remit the money to the relevant tax authority, forwarding receipt particulars for audit verification.”


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