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AuGF Indicts National Assembly over N9.4bn Unexplained Expenditure

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The Office of the Auditor General for the Federation (AuGF) has indicted the management of the National Assembly and the National Assembly Service Commission for embarking on an unexplained expenditure amounting to N9.424 billion in the 2019 financial year.

The query which was contained in the AuGF’s annual report on non-compliance, internal control weaknesses issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government, had about N5.521 billion of such expenditure credited to the House of Representatives in five different audit queries; N3.595 billion credited to the Senate in seven audit queries; while N307.676 million was credited to the National Assembly Service Commission in two audit queries.

The report with reference AuGF/AR.2019/02, addressed to the clerk of the National Assembly and dated September 15th, 2021, was signed by the AuGF, Adolphus Aghughu.

It stated that the sum of N2.550 billion was granted to members of the House of Representatives as running costs between July and December 2019, without evidence to show what the funds were used for, neither was the money retired.

It also stated that the sum of N258 million was given to 59 staff of the House, while another N107.912 million was given to two staff for repairs and maintenance of unspecified residential quarters, denying government the statutory Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT) of 10,791,296 accruable if the work had been awarded to contractors.

The AuGF report also stated that the sum of N1,594,807,097.83 was paid to revenue authorities between February and December 2019, as PAYE (6 members), car Ioan (5 members) and Housing loan (6 members) without acknowledgment receipts from the relevant revenue authorities.

It also queried the payment of N1, 010,598,610.97 from the salary account of the House without payment vouchers as required by law, while asking it directed the Clerk of the National Assembly to provide explanation for the irregularities and ensured that the amount involved was returned to government treasury.

On the other hand, it indicted the National Assembly Service Commission for failure to retire about N31.927 million cash advance granted to 59 staff of the commission as well as failure to remit one per cent stamp duty amounting to N276, 749,014.68.

It said further that about N219.645 million deducted as housing loan from some Senators were not remitted.

The report stated: “The sum of 219,645,567.08 was deducted from one hundred and seven (107) Senators’ salary arrears between July and December 2019 as housing loans, and there was no evidence to show that the above amount was remitted to the treasury.

The sum of N123.320 million and N176.267 million deducted from Senators salary arrears between July and December 2019 as vehicle loans and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) from staff salaries respectively were remitted to the appropriate authority. “The sum N277.411 deducted as VAT and WHT from services rendered were not remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Services, while the office of the Clerk failed to present payment vouchers amounting to N1,718,130,630.24 for audit verification.

“N657.757 million was paid for the supply of vehicles and other office equipment in 16 payment vouchers that were not cleared by Internal Audit as required by law before such payments were made, while another N423.370 million was paid for the supply of utility vehicles and production of National Assembly Logo between August and November 2019 from the Capital account with no relevant document.”

The House Committee on Public Account has however summoned the Clerk of the National Assembly, Amos Ojo, to appear before the committee to respond to the audit queries.

Chairman of the Committee Hon. Wole Oke, had before the House went on the yuletide break, said the Clerk should appear before the committee to respond to the AuGF’s queries.

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Adamawa State Gets 1,166 Hajj. Seats in 2022, Exec-Sec. Pilgrims Welfare Commission.

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The Executive Secretary of Adamawa State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Commission, who is also a Permanent Secretary in the state Civil Service, Mal. Abubakar Salihu has disclosed that the State has been allocated 1,166 seats in the 2022 Hajj exercise.

Salihu Made the disclosure during a press conference in Yola on Tuesday, He noted that Saudi Arabia has allocated a total of 43,008 Hajj seats to Nigeria.

The executive secretary who noted that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has allocated 1,000,000 seats for the exercise across the globe, noted that 850,000 of the seats will come from outside the kingdom.

Salihu disclosed that Saudi Arabian authorities have put conditions for the conduct of the Hajj exercise noting that intending pilgrims must be immunized against COVID-19 pandemic, must present negative PCR results of 72 hours or less before departure from Nigeria and must be less that 65 years of age.

He noted that as a result of fall in the value of naira, rise in VAT from 5% to 15% and reintroduction of COVID-19 protocols, Hajj fare is expected to rise to N2,565,265.84k in 2022.

Salihu called on all those who deposited money to augment payment to the tune of N2,565,265 and wait for further information as the Hajj fare was not yet finalized.

The executive Secretary said his commission is working hard to reduce the cost of accommodation while not compromising standards adding that the move will reduce the overall cost of the Hajj greatly.

He noted that 80% of the state slots will be given to those who rolled over from 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 in that order, “this means we will use the first come first serve system or the queuing system. The remaining 20% will be shared between the HSS, state government, sponsors and LGA Sponsors.

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