Few days after the minister of women affairs and social development, Mrs. Aisha Alhassan declared support for the former vice president, Mr. Atiku Abubakar, a report from the office of the auditor general of the federation has revealed how the she (minister) and some other staff spent N11, 700, 000 on familiarisation tour of unnamed skill acquisition centres in selected states in 2015.
According to the audit report “hiring of cars to project sites at ridiculous rates of between N75, 000.00 and N77, 000.00 for two days as appeared on receipts numbers 910 of 22/11/15, 107 of 24/11/15, 0416 of 27/11/15, 531 of 25/11/15, is contrary to exercise of the due economy in line with the provision of Financial Regulation 415.”
Premium Times reports that part of the funds was spent on November 11, 2015, the day the minister was officially sworn-in.
“Audit investigation established that the purported acclaimed appraisal visits to skill acquisition centres were never undertaken,” said the report.
Details of the report further show irregularities in payment processes, record keeping and dating of the said visits.
The audit committee observed that “all the attached receipts for fuelling did not indicate quantity in litres, the rate per litre, dates of purchase and vehicle number of the fuelled vehicles.
“The international hotel receipt of 23/11/15 which was issued for the hiring of a mini-bus from a hotel to unnamed project sites rendered the receipts doubtful.
More worrisome is the date which appeared on some of the receipts. Reports of the investigation by the audit committee revealed that part of the expenses for the verification visits was made on the day Mrs. Alhassan was sworn in.
“Receipt number 5206 of 11/11/2015, the date the minister was sworn in by the president…and receipt number 11622 of 8th of November, 2015 with amount N100, 000. 00 respectively are not clear. The two receipts were for servicing of a vehicle two times within three days,’’ the report noted.
Following the irregularities and in the absence of any justifiable defence, the auditor-general mandated the ministry to refund the N11, 700,000 to the federation account.
The report which contains observations made on the underlying accounting records of ministries, departments and other agencies of government is the latest from the auditor-general’s office.
The 656-page audit report recently unearthed startling revelations, including the fact that cumulative unremitted revenue from domestic crude oil sales by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stood at about N3.878 trillion as at December 31, 2015.
The report, which formed part of the submissions in the 2015 Annual Audit Report of the Federal Government Account by the office of the auditor general of the federation, said NNPC withheld about N644.377 billion in 2015 alone.