The Senate Committee on Public Account has issued a query to the Federal Ministry of Aviation over the payment of N174 million for direct procurement of navigational aids and maintenance without budgetary allocation in 2015.
Speaking at the public hearing, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Uroghide, expressed dismay at the Ministry’s failure to comply with the Appropriation Act.
Uroghide was also infuriated with the Ministry for allowing 23 store items worth about N837,000 to waste and rust without making use of them.
The query reads: “The Ministry effected payments to a company with payment vouchers numbers FMA/CAP/040/15 of 29/10/15 and FMA/ CAP 074/15 of 30/12/15 for the sum of N174,857,870:68 VAT, WHT inclusive, were for direct procurement of navigation aids/spare parts and maintenance services rendered to the Ministry.
“Further scrutiny of the capital appropriation document revealed a zero budget allocation for the purchase of Air Navigation Equipment with code 23010131.
“This constituted a gross violation and distortion of the Appropriation Act.”
Also in another query, the Auditor General said 33 stores items ranging from Sharp, Toner, Xerox Toner, HP Laser Jet, Lana’s Intercom, Panasonic Help, Fax, Conqueror, letter headed paper and so on, procured over the years and valued at N837,000 were left to waste and rust without making use of them.
The query stated that the action was an abridgement of Financial Regulation 415, which stipulates: “Federal Government requires all officers responsible for expenditure to exercise due economy. Money must not be spent because it has been voted for.”
But the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Hassan Musa, said the Ministry has taken measures to ensure that all store items procured were put to immediate use as soon as as they are procured.
On the issue of payment of N174 million to the contractor, the Permanent Secretary was unable to defend the allegation before the Senate Committee.
The Chairman of the Committee, while speaking during the meeting, vowed to ensure that Ministries, Departments and Agencies give account for the money collected whether the government is serious about it or not.
According to Uroghide: “In other climes, there is no way you will collect money without accounting for the money collected before getting another appropriation.”