Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate Committee on Public Accounts has invited the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Idris Ahmed, to appear before it to give details of the N57.6 billion grants released by the federal government in 2017.
The AGF is billed to appear before the Senator Matthew Urhoghide-led committee tomorrow with a list of the beneficiaries of the N57.6 billion grants to state governments, public and private-owned companies, and contributions to international organisations, among others.
The committee is being guided by the 2017 report of the Office of Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF), which queried the AGF over the non-disclosure of those that benefitted from the federal government grant.
The query read: “Examination of Note 14 (Grants and Contributions) as well as the statement of financial performance revealed the following: ‘the budgetary provision for grants and contributions was not disclosed in the notes to the accounts. This contravenes the provisions of IPSAS 24 (Presentation of Budget Information in Financial Statements).
“The sum of N57,624,929,461.05 (Fifty-seven billion, six hundred and twenty-four million, nine hundred and twenty-nine thousand, four hundred and sixty-one naira, five kobo) was granted by the Federal Government of Nigeria as grants and contributions which represent transfers to domestic and foreign governments, public and private-owned companies, academic institutions and internationals for 2017.
The breakdown and details of grants and contributions were not presented for audit.
“Non-disclosure of details of federal government grants and contributions will cast doubt on the authenticity and actual usage of such grants and contributions. The incomplete disclosure of budgeted figures may result in extra-budgetary expenditures.
“The Accountant-General was requested to disclose beneficiaries of grants and contributions for the year 2017. In his response, the Accountant-General stated that the list of beneficiaries of grants and contributions in the period under audit would be made available on March 18, 2019, but no list or details were received as at the time of filing this report.
“The Accountant-General is required to disclose the budget and beneficiaries of grants and contributions for the year 2017.”
At the last sitting of the committee at the weekend, the representative of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Segun Fehintola, however failed to present any documents before the Senate committee showing the beneficiaries of the N57.6 billion grant.
Piqued by the response of the representative of the Accountant General of the Federation, the chairman of the committee affirmed that the observation of the Auditor-General was genuine, and that the query must be sustained, insisting that details of the beneficiaries of the grants must be presented to the panel at the next sitting.
According to Senator Urhoghide, “We must sustain this query because the observation was genuine, and Accountant General of the Federation must bring the details of beneficiaries of the grants to the committee for vetting at the next public hearing.”