How the Justice Ministry embezzled and mismanaged 113.2 million naira in 2019
The Federal Ministry of Justice spent more than 113.2 million naira in violation of various provisions of Nigeria’s financial regulations in 2019, the latest audit report from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) disclosed.
Suspicious spending, the report said, ranged from misuse of funds intended for investment projects, embezzlement of other funds, paying contractors without supporting documentation.
He said the transactions highlight issues of misapplication, embezzlement and embezzlement of public funds.
Some of the transactions could also be payments for unapproved expenses, the report adds.
“35.8 million misappropriated capital votes”
In one case of alleged violations, the report said 12 payments totaling N35, 776,700 diverted from the 2019 ministry capital vote were made to officials.
Instead of being spent on investment projects, the funds, according to the report, were diverted to plane tickets, training camp registration, monthly meeting service, workshop fees. and conferences, according to the report.
Giving more details on how the funds were spent, the report states that, in another transaction, “N30 million was raised as an advance of funds to a ministry official.”
According to the report, details of the N30million cash advance retirement related to a conference that turned out to be a “virtual meeting” in 2019.
The officers who attended the conference came from south-south states and different agencies and commands, which, according to the audit report, “their offices should have taken care of their logistics and other benefits instead of the ministry. (of Justice)”.
The expenditure, according to the report, violates the provisions of paragraphs 316 (iii) and (iv) of the Financial Regulations, which state: will not be authorized and vice versa … All transfer requests will be collected by the Minister of Finance and submitted to the National Assembly for approval before the money order is issued.
The report said it was likely a case of “embezzlement” and “embezzlement of public funds”.
“Unjustified payments of 53.8 million naira”
The report also states that the ministry was unable to provide documents to justify more than 53.8 million Naira collected and paid to contractors for works and contracts in 2019.
He said that “nine payment vouchers in the amount of 53,797,299.50, for works and purchases were collected in 2019 and paid to contractors”, while “the relevant supporting documents such as approvals, invoices / receipts, letters, store receipt vouchers, store issuance vouchers, project files were not presented for review.
Relevant documents such as approvals, invoices / receipts, warehouse receipt voucher (SRV), warehouse exit voucher (SIV), the project could not be provided by the ministry, according to the report, raising concerns about a probable âembezzlement of public fundsâ.
The report cited a violation of Financial Regulation 603 (i), which states that “All vouchers must contain full details of each service, such as dates, numbers, quantities, distances and rates, in order to allow their verification without reference to any other document and will invariably be supported by relevant documents such as local purchase orders, invoices, special authorization letters, timesheets, etc.
He said the “anomalies” could be attributed to weaknesses in the internal control system of the Federal Justice Ministry and could have led to “embezzlement of public funds” and “difficulties in funding the budget”.
“N23.6 million supporting documents not presented for verification”
He also declared, “fourteen payment vouchers in the amount of 23,581,944.20 N (twenty-three million five hundred and eighty-one thousand nine hundred and forty-four naira, twenty kobo) paid between July and December 2019 have not been presented for audit review. . “
He noted that the “the anomaly” was a violation of paragraph 601 of the Financial Regulations, which states that “All payment entries in the cash book / accounts must be certified on one of the prescribed cash forms. vouchers are issued for the benefit of the person (s) to whom the money is usually due, and under no circumstances will a check be issued or paid for in cash for services for which a voucher has not been issued.
“The above anomaly could be attributed to weaknesses in the Federal Justice Ministry’s internal control system,” the report said, adding that it raised concerns about “embezzlement” and “payment for non-spending. approved “.
In response to questions about the allegedly misapplied N35.8million credit, the audit report noted that the Federal Justice Ministry leadership claimed that all expenses had been “factored into the project. of the Ministry’s 2019 capital allocation law and that they had been duly approved as contained in the appropriation laws for the year in question.
For the 53.8 million naira spent without supporting documents, the audit report states that “management said the ministry urgently needs to award and execute these contracts in order to save lives and property of public interest because of the possible attack demonstrators’ siege at the time.
“We are aware that these contracts were supposed to go through the procurement planning committee in accordance with regular procedures,” said management.
For the 23.6 million supporting documents not presented for audit, the report indicates that management asserted that the violation of Financial Regulation 629 as stated “was not willful”.
He added that this was “due to the demands of the job at the time which made it difficult for us to access these payment vouchers for presentation to auditors as requested”.
In addressing the issues, the audit report specifically asked the Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, who is the ministry’s accountant to: “Provide the reasons for the payment of allowances for a conference held virtually and the payment to officers. from another agency. “
The permanent secretary was also asked to “count on the sum of 35,776.700 million naira transferred from the capital loan to finance overhead costs.”
He was told to “recover the sum of 30 million naira paid as an advance because the pension documents are tainted with irregularities.”
In the same vein, the Solicitor General was asked to “collect and return the sum of N53, 797, 299.50 as well as the sum of N23, 581, 944, 20 to the treasury”, which were surrounded by âUnclear financial operations. “
If the payment could not be justified, the report recommended the application of sanctions relating to irregular payments, as stipulated in paragraph 3106 of the Financial Regulations.
The audit report, the latest in the OAuGF’s annual series, is titled âInternal Control Non-Compliance / Weakness Issues in Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Nigeria for the Year Ended December 31 2019 â.
It was recently submitted to the Clerk of the National Assembly by the AuGF, Adolphus Aghughu, in accordance with Article 85 (2) and (4) of the Nigerian constitution.
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