By Deji Elumoye
The Auditor General of the Federation AuGF), Mr. Anthony Anyine, has queried the Foreign Affairs Ministry over N248 million alleged extra budgetary spending at the Nigerian Embassy in Berlin, Germany.
He accused the embassy officials of expending the said sum in 2014 without recourse to the National Assembly.
In its response to the query, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said some of the sub heads were under-provided for and this informed the decision its officials to spend outside the vote budgeted for the foreign mission in the fiscal year.
The Auditor General in the 2015 Audit Report, petitioned the Senate Committee on Public Accounts headed by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, asking the committee to request for the source of extra budgetary spending by the officials of Ministry of foreign affairs in Germany.
The AuGF query read in part: “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.
“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 €5,000, 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.”