June 22, 2020

Reps probe utilization of N25bn appropriation of Refugee Commission


House of Representatives

House of Representatives

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

House of Representatives yesterday frowned at the failure of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCRMIDP) to properly account for the utilization of N25 billion appropriated between 2015 and 2019 fiscal years.

Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Wole Oke during an investigative hearing into the 2015 to 2019 audit queries issued by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (oAuGF) to the Commission regretted the ill development.

According to documents presented by the Commission to the Committee, from the total sum of N28.959 billion appropriated between 2015 to 2019, the sum of N1.894 billion was released for personnel cost; N433.218 million for overhead cost while N23.923 billion was approved for capital expenditure.

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Out of the amount, the sum of N22.369 billion was released out of which N14.735 billion was for capital expenditure.

The document also showed that the sum of N2.583 billion was released in 2015; N1.462 billion in 2016; N2.346 billion in 2017; N1.058 in 2018 and N1.370 billion in 2019 for the implementation of various Zonal Intervention Projects.

Oke who requested details of all the capital projects observed some irregularities in the documents presented to the Committee, questioning the Director, Finance and Accounts, DFA on the expenditures.

He said: “He (DFA) is out to defend the expenditure of N25 billion; that is the task before us now. What did you do with N25 billion?

“Yes, you could make payment to x, y, z, which is reflected in the bank statement but what is the consideration; what is the purpose of the payment?

“If the bank tells you debit and credit, you pay x, y, z, yes; inflow from Federal Government, from the office of the Accountant General release based on the budget provisions then outflow – expenditure

“So our question is, what was the consideration, what did you pay for. Auditor General what is the consideration? That’s what you have to defend, and it’s very simple

I’ m only summarising so that we can take a position so that the whole world can understand where we are. You’ve given us your record even with all the inaccuracies which are human error,”.

When asked about the compilation of the document, Head of Planning, Research, and Documentation, Mrs. Ama Edet denied knowledge of any money.

“The accounting just to give me the details then I just compile it and put it in the form that it is. So I don’t know anything about the money on the compilation. I don’t know.”

In his response, Oke said the presentation was not properly done.

“The presentation is not proper, it is not in order. The presentation before us, ordinarily I would have dropped everything on the doorstep of the National Commissioner but he’s just coming on board, and you, his lieutenants you have not done well

“You have not done well at all, simple arithmetic accuracy that a Primary 6 student even let’s say SSS 3 student will take his calculator and add together is what we are grappling with here! If we agree, we simply return this document and ask that the document should go and be tidied up

“Please go back and tidy it up properly. The Director of Planning said she’s not an accountant, I don’t expect that statement from you”.

The Committee was eventually given one-week ultimatum to represent the document.