Senate Speedily Passes N2.176trn Supplementary Budget, Cites Dry Season As Reason

Senate Order Budget Office To Refund N19 billion Disbursed Without Approval

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Due to its failure to receive approval before disbursing N19 billion to four Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the Budget Office has been directed by the Senate to refund the sum.

The Senate disclosed that the Budget Office handed N19 billion to four MDAs without having details of the payment or the Minister of Finance’s approval to make the payment.

Prime Business Africa understands that the Budget Office has come under scrutiny after the Auditor General of the Federation queried the Budget Office in 2016.

The Auditor General said: “Four MDAs were paid the sum of N19bn from the Service Wide Vote without the approval of the Honorable Minister of Finance, some of the payments were made on a purported verbal directive from the Director General. 

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“This act is against the financial Regulation 301 and 302 which state that ‘recurrent expenditure is paid from the CRF and no expenditure may be incurred except on the authority of a warrant issued by the Minister of Finance.” 

Also, the Auditor’s office said: “Given the above, it is difficult to accept the payment to the MDAs as proper and legitimate charges against the public funds. 

“The Director General should provide evidence of approval from the Minister of Finance for these expenditures or recover the sum of N19bn from the benefiting MDAs.” 

The Senate Public Accounts Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide had submitted a report on the query, stating that the Budget Office couldn’t provide the letter in which it claimed to have requested details of the MDAs from the Auditor’s office.

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After the submission of the report by the Senate Committee, the upper chamber adopted the report and ordered that the Budget Office refund the money sent to the four unnamed Ministries, Department and Agencies considering the office couldn’t provide the letter and the approval from the Ministry of Finance.

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