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Senate queries Foreign Affairs Ministry for ‘spending N248m without approval’

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By Henry Umoru – Abuja

The Senate has queried officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the  Republic of Germany for allegedly spending a total sum of  N248 million without the approval of the National Assembly.

The query was raised by the Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo South led Senate Committee on Public Accounts.

The Committee is relying on a query issued by the Auditor General of Federation, Anthony Anyine against Nigeria’s embassy in Germany.

The Auditor General in a petition submitted to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts has demanded the source of extra-budgetary spending by the officials of the Ministry of foreign affairs in  Germany.

The query read, “The Embassy (in Germany), over-spent its budget for 2014 in 16 subheads, totalling N248,025,564.88.

“This act of over expenditure by the embassy is a virement by the mission without approval from the National Assembly.

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“The Mission through the Permanent Secretary has been advised to abide by the provisions of the financial regulations and extant circular which states that expenditure must be within the amount provided in the subheads.

“It is also necessary that the Embassy should explain the source of the extra funds spent.”

In its written response to the audit query, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, ‘Some of the subheads where funds were needed, were under-provided for.

“The only fund spent outside the budget was a donation of €5000, made by Julius Berger Nigeria Limited to the Mission as a gift for the National Day Celebration.

“The allocations to sub-heads were not in line with the requirements of the Mission, the cost of services was very high and delayed allocation were grossly responsible for the Mission’s action.

“Mission could not afford to delay payments for services provided to avoid being blacklisted  by the host community.”

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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