House Quizzes Utilisation of N25bn by Refugees Commission

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Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts yesterday queried the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) over the failure to provide documents on the utilisation of N25 billion appropriated to the commission between 2015 and 2019.

The Committee Chairman, Hon. Wole Oke, during the investigative hearing regarding the audit queries issued by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF), said it has become imperative to know what has been done with the money, the actual utilisation for the period under reference.

He also said there was need to investigate the efficiency of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) with the view to stop the menace of ghost workers in all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

According to the documents presented by the commission to the committee from the total sum of N28.959 billion was appropriated between 2015 and 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.

Out of the amount, the sum of N22.369 billion was released out of which N14.735 billion was for capital expenditure. The sums 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 were released for the implementation of various Zonal Intervention Projects respectively.

Oke, while reacting to the presentation, frowned at the inconsistencies observed in the documents presented to the committee.

He said: “He’s out to defend the expenditure of N25 billion; that is the task before us now. What did you do with the 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 released based on the budget provisions then outflow – expenditure. So our question is, what was the consideration, what did you pay for? Auditor General please what is the consideration? That’s what you have to defend, and it’s very simple.

“I’m only summarising it so that we can take a position, and so that the 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, said she knew nothing about the money or the computation, as her job was only to collect the details and compile them.

Responding, Oke said the presentation is not proper and 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, have not done well.

“You have not done well at all. Simple arithmetic accuracy that a Primary 6 student or SSS 3 student will take his calculator to work out is what we are grappling with here! If we agree, we would simply return this document and ask that the document should be tidied up. Please go back and tidy it up properly. The Director of Planning is not an accountant, and I don’t expect that statement from you,” he added

The committee rejected the document and they were told to return next week for a re-presentation.