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Published On: Thu, Oct 8th, 2020

Ministry sell-off N17m worth of vehicles to offset N2m debt

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By Musa Baba Adamu and Ikechukwu Okaforadi

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts (SPAC) , has uncovered how the Ministry of Science and Technology gave out two vehicles worth N17 million to pay debt of N2 million owned contractors.
The Committee headed by Senator Mathew Urhoghide ( PDP Edo South) , stmbled on the wastful transaction between the Ministry and its creditor as contained in the 2015 Auditor General Report submitted to the Senate by the Auditor General of the Federation .
Cat was let out of the bag at the Wednesday interactive session the Committee had with Permanent Secretary of the Ministry , Edet Akpan and top officials on queries issued them by the Auditor General of the Federation .
During the verification of non-reccurent assets of the Ministry, It was discovered that two vehicles with registration M50-101G and MGO-12FG respectively were not seen and their whereabouts was not explained.
The Auditor general report revealed that the two vehicles were seized by contractors.
But. the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, said the vehicles were seized by court as result of debt owned to contractors .
According to him, the vehicles were seized by Court as a result of debt owned to the contractors.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide rejected the presentation of the Permanent Secretary saying there is no evidence that the court judgement gave the vehicles to the contractors through court order.
In a related development, the Senate Panel uncovered how the officials of Police Service Commission (PSC), raised eight vouchers to collect N12. million from the government purse in the name of training of officials of the commission in 2015 for DTA allowance.
The Auditor General report reads, “ during the audit examination of accounting books and records maintained by the Police Service Commission Abuja, It was observed that eight vouchers for amount totaling N12.9 million were used to pay staff of the commission Out of Pocket Expenses (OPE) DTA and transportation for attending conference in Nasarawa.
“The 2014 approval was revalidated in 2015 for the training contrary to the provision of financial regulations 414.
“The said workshop was not contained in 2015 approved budget of the commission thereafter, the expenditure was viewed as extra budgetary spending.
“Copy of the attendance sheet signed by the officers who participated in the training was not produced.”
But, the Director of Finance and Administration, Brighten Saaqwe claimed that the commission decided to pay the money in 2015 because the money was released in 2014 and the training had been done.
He said the Commission was unable to provide the documents to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation because the documents were not available when the Auditor requested for them.
The Senator Urhoghide led committee however tackled the officials of the Police Service Commission saying, the documents were made available after 15 months.

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