Senate has instituted a probe into the circumstances that led to Budget Office payment of N19 billion by the Director General, Ben Akabueze to four agencies without the approval of the Ministry of Finance. The Senator Matthew Urhoghide, led Senate Committee on Public Accounts has hinged the Investigation of the budget office on the 2016 Auditor General’s Report which is currently being considered by the Committee. However, Budget Office has failed to appear before the Senate Committee on Public Accounts on the payment of N19 billion to four agencies through verbal directive by the Director General of Budget Office in 2015.
According to the Committee, budget Office ought to be the number one on the list of the agencies expected to respond to the Auditor General’s query, but failed to appear before the Senators. The budget office in a written response to the Auditor General’s query said, “the details of MDAs under the reference have not been provided to the usb to enable us respond appropriately. On his part, the Auditor In the 2016 report said, that ” Four MDAs were paid the sum of N19 billion from the service wide vote without the approval of the Honourable Minister of Finance. Some of the payment were made on a purported verbal directive from the Director General.
“This Act is against Financial Regulations 301 and 302 which state that ” recurrent expenditure is paid from CRF and no expenditure may be incurred except on the authority of a warrant issued by the Minister of Finance. The Director General should provide evidence of approval from the Ministry of Finance for these expenditures or recover the sum of N19 billion from benefiting MDAs.”