Funds Missing – Water ministry can’t account for N344m

Funds by the Ministry of Water Resources during the 2017 financial year totalling N343.95m were not presented for audit.

The revelation is contained in the audit report of the ministry which was prepared by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation.

The audit report was personally signed by the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr Anthony Ayine.

A copy of the report, which had already been submitted to the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly, was made available to our correspondent in Abuja.

A number of major weaknesses and lapses in the management of public funds and resources were identified across several ministries, departments and agencies during the annual audit.

The findings range from irregular expenditures to failure to surrender surplus revenues to the treasury, all running into billions of naira.

Also notable was the continuing failure in the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

Specifically, Ayine in the audit report noted that the inability of the Ministry of Water Resources to present the payment vouchers for audit violated the provisions of section 85(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and Financial Regulation 108.

He said based on the violation committed by the ministry, the amount incurred on the vouchers could not be regarded as legitimate charges against public funds.

Ayine in the report explained that based on the action of the ministry, the Federal Government might have lost the sum of N343.95m as there was no evidence of work done or service rendered.

He stated in the report that when audit queries were issued to the ministry, the permanent secretary in his response produced only two payment vouchers amounting to N4.47m.

He said six payment vouchers totalling N339.47m were not produced by the permanent secretary for audit purposes.

“The amount incurred on those vouchers cannot be regarded as legitimate charges against public funds. Government may have lost the sum of N343,957,350.60, as there is no evidence of work done or service rendered.

“Sanctions as contained in the Financial Regulation 3106 should be invoked. The permanent secretary is required to account for the sum of N339,479,335.60 not presented for audit,” he said in the report. (The Punch)

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