The House of Representatives has commenced investigation into the huge recurrent expenditure incurred by National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, including the payment of N1.2 billion allowances to members of the National Youth Service Corps.
Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Oluwole Oke who presided over the investigative hearing into the audit queries issued by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (oAuGF) against NAFDAC and other MDAs, accused NAFDAC of “gross misconduct” for failing to render its audited accounts as stipulated in the Financial Regulations, for late submission of annual audited accounts.
The committee also quizzed the agency on the N5.2 billion appropriated in 2019 and N11.2 billion internally generated revenue, demand for records of the vouchers of NYSC allowances allegedly placed on Grade Level 8.
While responding to the audit queries, NAFDAC Director General, Mojisola Adeyeye, affirmed that the agency submitted its 2017 audited account in 2020 while the 2018 audited account was submitted on Wednesday, 25th February, 2021.
While responding to question on the COVID-19 intervention fund released to the agency, Adeyeye who was represented by the Director of Finance and Accounts, Gbenga Ayowande disclosed that the sum of N2 billion released to the agency is still intact in the agency’s coffers.
To this end, the Committee requested details of N5 billion balance and chided the agency for discrepancies between the N1.1 billion recurrent expenditure declared and the N1.2 billion actual.
In the same vein, the Committee resolved to scrutinize the application of N5.5 billion out of the N7.7 billion appropriated and Value Added Tax accrued from its services, and the sum of N2 billion released as COVID-19 Intervention fund.
To this end, the Committee requested all payment vouchers on the N4.7 billion spent within a financial year which was described as “alarming” and resolved to write CBN and IPPIS on all the payments made by the agency.
Oke also directed the Clerk to write all the companies which benefited from various contracts as well as various regulatory agencies such as PENCOM, NSITF and FIRS, to provide relevant compliance certificates by the companies as well as Bureau of Public Procurement.
“We will lift the veil to see whether the companies belong to the Director of Finance and Accounts,” Oke stressed.
In continuation of its activities, the Committee quizzed management team of National Agency for the Control of AIDS Director of Finance and Accounts, Nsikav Ebong, over bogus amounts expended on printing in 2017, drugs and supply in 2018; N2.3 billion spent on research and development against the sum of N280 million spent in the previous year, as well as other consulting expenses worth N4.2 billion.
During the review of its financial statements as well as the audit queries, the lawmakers queried the sum of N48.9 billion incurred on procurement, as well as about N500 million spent on international travels and transport, among other issues.
To this end, Oke issued a seven-day ultimatum to NACA management to provide all relevant Appropriation Acts and Procurement records “because you just have to retire the tax payers’ money.”
Similarly, the Committee also probed the financial statement of National Space Research and Development Agency (NASDRA) which was also accused of “gross misconduct” for failing to render its audited accounts to the oAuGF, in breach of the extant financial regulations.
Oke who stressed the need to stop the impunity being perpetuated across the MDAs, said: “We have to stop this practice in the public service.”
According to the agency, the sum of N5.517 billion was released in 2018 while N2.2 billion was reported as recurrent expenditure.
The Committee also expressed displeasure over non-declaration of N625 million appropriated to the agency as capital expenditure for the year under review
The lawmakers also chided the agency over repeated cases of extra-budgetary expenditures.
The Committee also demanded reason for maintaining negative reserve, while N29 million was carried forward for the succeeding financial year.
To this end, the Committee demanded details of over N3 billion of the appropriated fund.
Worried by the observed lapses in the audited accounts submitted by the agency, the Committee resolved to summon the external auditor who was directed to provide his operational certificates as well as registration with the office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
In his presentation, the Director of Finance and Administration, Niyi Iwaloye, affirmed that the sum of N1.4 billion was provided in the agency’s capital component for international training with the knowledge of the House Committee on Science and Technology.
He affirmed that the agency rendered account from 2014 to 2019 financial statements in 2020.
While ruling, Oke directed the Clerk of the Committee to write Central Bank of Nigeria to provide the agency’s statement of accounts.
In the same vein, the Committee resolved to place the agency on status of inquiry and directed the management of the agency to provide all financial records from 2017 to 2020 financial years, by next week Tuesday.