The Nigerian Senate refused to grant access to auditors from the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation who came to verify over N1.3billion claimed to have been spent on capital items supplied to the National Assembly, SaharaReporters can confirm.
The management of the National Assembly told the auditors that some sections of the stores were under renovation and, therefore, the auditors could not gain entry to verify the capital items said to have been bought.
These were contained in the Auditor-General of the Federation Report for 2017, the latest to be released, on the auditing of the Senate Account.
The report, obtained by SaharaReporters, noted that the Clerk of the National Assembly must account for the total sum of N1,364,816,397.95 and the details be forwarded to the AuGF office for confirmation.
It was not clear whether the National Assembly official had made the stores available for inspection since the directive was given.
The AuGF report said, “During the audit of the accounts and other related records maintained by the Senate, it was observed that; issue one – Verification of capital items supplied and executed for the National Assembly totalling N1,364,816,397.95 proved unsuccessful as auditors were denied access to the store and its records.
“The Risk – This charge implies that public funds may be diverted for unappropriated purposes and the value for money not ascertained from these expenditures. The recommendation is that the management response to the store being under renovation at the time of audit is not acceptable; hence, I cannot accept this expenditure as a valid charge against public funds.
“The Clerk of the National Assembly is required to account for the total sum of N1,364,816,397.95. Details should be forwarded to my office for confirmation.”
The report also raised questions about payment vouchers for projects of the National Assembly totalling N673million which were not made available to the auditors.
“Issue 2; Payment vouchers amounting to N235,748,563.14 for the period April to June 2017; and N437,332,679 for the period July to October 2017 were not produced for audit. The risk is that it is difficult to certify such payment as legitimate charges on public funds; as the total sum of N673,081,242 may have been misappropriated.
“The recommendation is that the sum of N673,081,242.14 should be recovered by the Clerk of the National Assembly and paid back to the Treasury; evidence of recovery should be forward to my office,” it added.