Audit Report Indicts 28 MDAs for Illegal Withdrawal of N13.95trn 

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A total of 28 Ministries Departments and Agencies  (MDAs) have been indicted for illegally  withdrawing N13.95 trillion by the 2020 audit report.

PThe 28 MDAs were identified as involved in the illegal transactions following a careful review of the Bank Balances from the Consolidated Financial Statement.

 

The audit report revealed that the MDAs had negative balances to the tune of N13.95 trillion (N13,955,069,757,335.20), a violation of the Financial Regulations 2009 which states that: “No government bank account shall be overdrawn, or any temporary advance obtained from a bank. In the event of an account being overdrawn, the officer responsible shall be made to refund any bank charges incurred thereon”.

 

The figures were presented as the current portion of borrowings and current liabilities.

 

According to the report, the Federal Ministry of Environment topped the list of the defaulting MDAs, having overdrawn N350.85 billion, followed closely by the Nigeria Stored Products Research Institute (N2.65 billion) and the Public Complaints Commission (N1.48 billion). 

 

The Auditor–General of the Federation (AuGF), Shaakaa Chira, noted that no approvals were granted to the MDAs for the overdraws, nor were any explanations provided by the MDAs regarding the transactions.

 

Mr Chira blamed the irregularities on “weaknesses in the internal control system surrounding the consolidation process at the Office of Accountant-General of the Federation,” adding that the unauthorised expenditure and non-disclosure exposed the federal government to avoidable interest payments.

 

However, an audit of account statements through the Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) traced some of the withdrawals to personnel and overhead financing as well as bank charges against MDAs for the usage of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gateway—a clear negation of the essence of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

 

GIFMIS is a comprehensive financial reporting system launched by the federal government in April 2012 to tackle budget management and accounting across MDAs, to address issues of economic inefficiency.

 

To address the discrepancies, the Auditor-General called for budgetary provisions to cover charges by service providers on MDAs for using the CBN gateway.

 

He also recommended that the Accountant General of the Federation “forward a schedule of transactions that gave rise to the negative cash and cash equivalents recognised by the 28 MDAs, along with the bank statements of the affected MDAs, to the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly”.

 

The Auditor-General further recommended that sanctions relating to irregular payments from public funds prescribed in paragraph 3106 of the Financial Regulations apply. Paragraph 3106 states that: “A public officer who makes an irregular payment from public funds, shall be given 21 days notice to offer an explanation. Where no satisfactory explanation is given, the amount involved shall be recovered from the officer and such officer shall be removed from the schedule.”

 

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