Members of the Federal House of Representatives are alleged to have squandered N2.5bn meant for constituency project.
It was gathered that the House members were paid N2,500,000,000 as running costs and for constituency projects in 2019 but an audit report by the Federal Government has revealed that the legislators could not account for the money or what it was spent on.
It was learnt that the money was granted to the Honorable members as running costs between July and December 2019 but there was no evidence to show what the funds were used for.
These were confirmed in the Auditor-General for the Federation’s Annual Report 2019, obtained by Caracal Reports last Wednesday – the report which highlighted several infractions and financial misadventure by government ministries, departments and agencies.
It was revealed in the report that the House of Representatives also was found wanting for over N2.5bilion financial misappropriation as the members could not account for the humongous money they got.
According to a report by Caracal Reports, the audit report reads, “HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES; At the Federal House of Representatives of the National Assembly, the following observations were made: ISSUE 1: UNRETIRED RUNNING COST BY THE HONOURABLE MEMBERS (=N2,550,000,000.00).
“Paragraph 1011(i) of the Financial Regulations states “All standing imprests must be retired on or before the 31st December of the financial year in which they are issued while Special Imprests shall be retired immediately the reasons for which they were granted cease to exist. Retirement will be effected by the production of vouchers and/or cash for the full amount of the imprest.
“Audit observed that: i. The sum of 2,550,000,000.00 (Two billion five hundred and fifty million naira only) was granted to Honorable members as running costs between July and December 2019 as shown in the Table below;
“There was no evidence to show what the funds were used for, and iii. There were no retirement documents despite requests. The above anomalies could be attributed to weaknesses in the internal control system at the Federal House of Representatives of the National Assembly.
“Risks i. Loss of Government funds. ii. Diversion of public funds. Management’s Response No response. Recommendations. The Clerk to the National Assembly is requested to: i. Furnish reasons why running costs granted to Honourable members were not retired.
“Recover unretired running costs of N2,550,000,000 (Two billion five hundred and fifty million naira only) and remit to the Treasury. iii. Forward evidence of remittance to the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly, and iv. Otherwise, apply sanctions relating to non-retirement of advances and imprest specified in paragraph 3124 of the Financial Regulations.”