The officials of Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tel-Aviv, Israel have been linked to the mismanagement of N848 million and $1.5 million.
The report of the Auditor General of Federation, Anthony Ayine, being considered by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, indicted the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the mismanagement of the fund.
The Chairman of the Committee, who was visibly angry by the financial recklessness of Nigeria’s embassy in Tel-Aviv, said the person that committed all the infractions should be made known for further action.
The representative of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Salawu Zubair, was unable to give convincing presentation to the Senate Committee on Public Account on the series of queries raised by the Auditor-General of the Federation.
The Auditor General’s report reads: “The sum of $858,704,50 was generated as revenue in respect of visa and administrative charges for the period 2013-2015.
“The following irregularities were observed.
“Treasury Book 6A and Treasury Book 6 revenue booklets were not kept, and consequently not made available.
“Revenue collector’s registers with details of TR6A and relevant amount were not maintained
“Revenue cash books were not updated with relevant entries throughout 2014.
“The Permanent Secretary has been requested to explain these irregularities in revenue collection, account for the sum of $858,704.50 collected as well as carry out the surcharge of officers involved, otherwise the full weight of financial regulations 3112 (1) should be applied, forwarding evidence of action taken for audit verification.
“The sum of $187,554.49 was transferred from revenue to overhead accounts as revealed in the revenue cash books of 2013 and 2015.
“The amount was claimed to have been borrowed from the Internally Generated Revenue Account for the period but was never paid back.
“This action contravenes financial regulations 236.
“The Permanent Secretary has been requested to recover the entire amount and forward evidence of recovery and remittance to government chest for audit verification.
“Audit examination revealed that out of the sum, $305,577 was unaccounted for.
“It was also observed that between 2013 and 2015, the sum of N517,247,500.8 was remitted to the embassy.
“The sum for capital, personnel and overhead cost.
“These remittances were all paid into one account.
“This is a violation of financial regulations 701, which requires separate bank accounts to be maintained for capital and overhead to enable transparent rendition of expenditure return in accordance with budgetary provisions.
“The expenditure return rendered by the embassy cannot be admissible as a true reflection of transaction of the lumping of expenditure remittances (personnel, overhead and capital) into bank account.
“The Permanent Secretary has been requested to explain these banking irregularities and revert to the separation of bank accounts in accordance with statutory regulations, forwarding evidence of action taken for audit verification.
“During the audit examination of payment voucher, the total sum of $158,000 was paid as estacode allowance to home-based staff to accompany Christians pilgrims from Nigeria to various religious sites.
“However, it was revealed while going through the supporting documents attached to the payment voucher that these pilgrims were usually accompanies by the Nigerian Pilgrims Commission, hence there is no need for embassy staff to escort them, the Permanent Secretary has been requested to stop further wastage of statutory allocations on meaningless pilgrimage tours that will aid the embassy on accomplishing its mandate and in informing me accordingly on action taken.
“During the verification of the AIEs extracted from the ministry into the AIEs files maintained at the Nigerian embassy in Tel-Aviv. It was observed that AIEs totalling N331m extracted from the ministry of foreign affairs did not reflect at the embassy.
“The Permanent Secretary ha been requested to explain why these AIEs totalling N331m were not recorded and accounted for n the embassy files or recover the total amount and forward the recovery particulars to me for verification.”