N718m audit report: Petroleum ministry spent N14m on biro, N98m on PIB leaflets awareness – Senate




 

Fresh findings contained in the report of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts revealed series of queries bordering on corrupt practices and issued to the Federal Ministry of Petroleum by the Office of Auditor General of the Federation were sustained by the Senate, Blueprint has gathered.

The queries which emanated from the 2015 Audit report, indicted the ministry over alleged spending of N718. 911million on unverifiable services paid to eleven corporate bodies, N14million expended on purchase of Schneider biros and N46million for printing of letter headed papers.

Other alleged sleazes perpetrated by the ministry as stated in the report which has been adopted by the Senate, were N56million expended on toners and N23million spent on Sallah/Christmas packages for staffers of the ministry in 2015, N243million for sensitisation and leaflets on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) etc.

The sustained queries read: “The sum of N23, 642, 000.00 million from the capital project funds was expended for procurement of Sallah/Christmas welfare packages to Staffers of the Ministry.

“The Ministry in its response to this query accused the Labour Union of putting undue pressure on it for the virement / spending as a way of preventing strike action and Industrial disharmony.

“Amounts totalling N32, 783, 052.00million meant for IPPIS training and other programmes, were paid through the bank accounts of Staff of the Finance and Accounts Department , instead of paying the approved amounts directly into the Bank Accounts of the bonafide beneficiaries as required by E – payment policy .

“Audit carried out shows that there was no evidence to prove that the ultimate beneficiaries received the money.

“These are aside an expenditure entry of N718, 911, 848.00 million made in the cashbook as payments to eleven corporate bodies purportedly for different services rendered .

“Surprisingly, no further documents regarding this payment were produced for audit review.

“Contrary to procurement process, an entry in the cashbook for the sum of N98, 400.000.00million was made in favour of a company for printing of leaflets for the awareness campaign programme on PIB vide payment voucher No MPR/CAP/0199/2013 of 2013.

“Audit carried out shows that there was no formal award of contract and it was also observed that approval for payment was via a memo presented by the Director ( Press).

“The Ministry aside the N98million spent on leaflets for awareness on PIB , also approved a total sum of N145, 591, 400.00 million for similar awareness campaign without required documents to prove judicious utilization of the money .

“The contract for the supply of Schneider biros worth N14, 574, 000.00 million was split into smaller packages of less than N5, 000, 000.00million each and awarded to four different companies in order to circumvent the Permanent Secretary’s approval threshold of N5,000,000.00million .

 “Similarly, contracts for the printing of the Ministry’s Letter – Headed paper worth N46, 645, 000.00million and contract for supply of toners worth N56, 418, 135, 000.00million, were  split and awarded to 17 different contractors. ” 

Consequently , the Senate in sustaining the queries through adoption of the report , directed that the N718million expended on unverifiable services be refunded to the treasury  by the ministry within 60 days and that the officers involved  should be sanctioned for gross misconduct and disciplined in accordance with Rule 3118 of the Financial Regulations.

 On the N243million spent on sensitization/ awareness on PIB, the Senate directed that officers involved should be identified and demoted, while the project accountant involved in the N32.7million IPPIS training should be identified and compelled to refund the money to government coffers.

The upper legislative chamber also directed that officers involved in the N14m biro purchase contact splitting, the N46 million letter headed paper printing and N56million toner supply  be sanctioned in accordance with Rule 3115 of the Financial Regulations.

It specifically ordered that the queried sums of N46, 645, 000.00million and N56, 418, 135,0million be recovered and paid back to treasury.

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