Uche Usim, Abuja
The Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, has uncovered myriads of unreported losses of cash, vehicles and stores in various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), which arose from theft, fraud, negligence, death of government debtors, inadequate security and non-observance of existing regulations.
The revelation was contained in the 2017 audit report of government agencies which was released recently.
According to the report, the concealment of lost items covers a period of five years (2012-2016), a development the AuGF said was wrong, given that they should have been formally reported to his office or other relevant agencies.
“The nil position of reported cases over the last five years is a clear indication of the outright disregard of the provisions of Chapters 25 and 26 of the Financial Regulations which enjoin all accounting officers to render reports of any loss of cash, stores, plants, vehicles and equipment to my Office, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and to the Federal Civil Service Commission. losses of cash, stores, etc, were not officially reported by the MDAs to my office during that period.
“No accident case involving any government vehicle was also reported. This is not to say that it was nil situation with all the federal ministries if the quarterly returns on government vehicles had been promptly rendered. This situation is quite worrisome.
“The stated regulations require strict compliance by all Accounting officers. Accordingly, I recommend that all MDAs be required to comply strictly with the provisions of the financial regulations,” Ayine said.
At the University of Ibadan, the report observed that a Toyota Avensis Sedan with registration number 50A 03 FG assigned to the former Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, which was purchased at the sum of N9,339,750 in December 2014 was stolen few days after delivery.
“It was observed that a claim was sought by the University from its insurance company, and compensation in the sum of N4,006,800 was paid to the university in January 2015 through First Bank cheque No. 43741912.
“Instead of paying to the account of the University, it was observed that the sum of N4,006,800 was later transferred to the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic’s private account vide payment voucher number FBN/IRB/3/15/2 dated March 20, 2015 after the expiration of his tenure as Deputy Vice Chancellor.
“The voucher had no evidence of application made by the payee nor authority and approval for the transfer.
“Due to the above, government suffered loss to the tune of the stolen vehicle purchased at the cost of N9,339,750, and was also denied access to the compensation in the sum of N4,006,800 after bearing cost of insurance.”
The AuGF in his recommendation said the Vice Chancellor is required to recover the sum of N4,006,800 paid to the former Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics and remit to FGN/TSA.
At the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), the AuGF unearthed a case of unreported stolen vehicle, a Toyota Avensis which belonged to the institute.
“It was stolen; the criminal was apprehended and the sum of N3,819,000 was recovered from Industrial and General Insurance Company Plc, Lagos, the insurer of the vehicle.
“However, this robbery was not reported to the offices of the Accountant-General of the Federation and Auditor-General for the Federation in line with the provisions of financial regulations 2505(i) (b) and 2603 nor documentary evidence of remittance of the recovered amount to the Consolidated Revenue Fund or prosecution of the case in the law court was presented for audit confirmation,” the report said.
The AuGF explained that the risk in operating outside the rules of engagement usually results to loss of government funds as was the case at NAPTIN.
Ayine recommended that the NAPTIN Director-General should forward evidence of remittance to government coffers, the sum of N3,819,000 that was recovered from the insurance company together with the police extract and any other resolutions leading to the conclusion of the case.