…Orders Imo SUBEB to refund N482m paid illegally to unqualified contractors
By Henry Umoru
THE Senate has indicted the Office of Accountant General of the Federation over its refusal to repay short term loans given to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, from special funds accounts totaling N910 billion.
It uncovered this after investigation by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, led by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Edo South, following the submission of 2017 Auditor General’s report.
According to the query, the loans and debts arose from Special Funds Accounts totaling N910,039,557,742 and showed that the balance remained unpaid throughout the year, though they were designed to be short term.
In its response, the Office of the Accountant General claimed that several letters were written to the then Minister of Finance to authorize the settlement of the loans granted against allocations of various MDAs.
The AGF office further said it had requested the minister to include the loans repayment in 2017 budget.
Urhoghide’ committee observed that there was continous abuse of the special funds by the executive as the withdrawals were continually made for political expediency outside the purpose for which the funds were meant .
The report read: “ There is continous abuse of the special funds by executive as the withdrawals are continually made for political expediency outside the purpose for which the funds were meant.”
The Senate, therefore, ordered that all outstanding loans be recovered by the Accountant General of the Federation and evidence of recovery presented to the Auditor General and Senate Public Accounts Committee within 60 days .
Meanwhile, the Senate, after considering the report, directed the Executive Chairman of Imo State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, to account for money paid to companies not financially capable, contrary to requirement of extant rules.
The chairman of the board failed to appear before the committee to defend the allegation of payment without due process.