Senate Probes Alleged Payment of N28bn to Unnamed MDAs by Budget Office

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By Deji Elumoye

The Senate is to probe the alleged payment of N28 billion by the Budget Office of the Federation (BOF) to unnamed ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the 2015 fiscal year.

Already, the upper legislative chamber has mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to get to the root of the allegation and revert to it.

The committee, headed by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, based on the 2016 report of the Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF), has invited top officials of the Budget Office including the Director-General to defend the allegation.

The top officials, however, failed to honour the committee’s invitation when the committee members were to meet with them at the Senate Committee Room 4 last Friday.

The query from the AuGF had read: “The sum of N28,880,533,107.00 (Twenty-eight billion, eight hundred and eighty million, five hundred and thirty-three thousand, one hundred and seven naira) was paid to some MDAs as advance payment from their approved budgets in 2015.

“There was no evidence to show that these advances were recovered from the subsequent payments made to these MDAs, resulting in excess releases to the benefiting MDAs, above their appropriated amounts.

“Furthermore, there was no evidence of any supplementary budgetary allocation from the National Assembly 290 Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation.

“The Director-General was requested to recover these advances from the benefiting MDAs from subsequent payments due to them and show evidence of supplementary approval from the National Assembly for the sum of N28,880,533,107.00 released as advances. Evidence of compliance should be furnished for verification.”