The Senate has queried the Ministry of Power over N7 billion smuggled into the Ministry’s budget without appropriation from the National Assembly.
The Senate Committee on Public Account hinged the query on the 2015 Auditor General Report submitted for consideration.
The Committee, chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, wondered how N7 billion appeared in the Ministry’s account when the 2015 budget was yet passed and while the account for 2014 was already closed.
The lawmakers observed there was no evidence that such money was budgeted for in respect of the Hydropower Transmission Project in either 2014 or 2015 fiscal year.
The query reads: “The sum of N7 billion was received by the Ministry of Power in January 2015 as shown in the accounts.
“This fund was spread into 4 (Four) commercial banks under the Account name Hydropower Transmission Project.
“The budget for 2015 was not yet passed as at the time this money was received by the Ministry in January 2015 while the account for the year 2014 was already closed as at 31st December, 2014.
“It was also observed that there was no evidence that such money was budgeted for in respect of the Hydropower Transmission Project in either 2014 or 2015 fiscal year of
the Ministry Appropriation Act.”
But the Ministry of Power in its written response said: “The Federal Government released the total amount under the special Intervention Fund to the Ministry for funding Hydroelectric Power Project.
“The fund was released as special warrant and therefore was outside of the Ministry’s approved budget.
“The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation approved project accounts for the fund in four different banks.”
The fund was transferred to Diamond Bank, N2 billion; Heritage Bank, N2 billion; Access Bank, N2 billion; and Wema Bank, N1 billion.
It was gathered that the money was approved by the then President Goodluck Jonathan as loan for the evacuation of 40MW power generated from Kashimila Hydro-power station.
The Senator Urhogbide however further demanded for more documents to see whether the money was properly utilised as claimed by the Ministry of Power.