The Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) has queried expenditures by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) totaling about N467million, which allegedly contravened extant financial regulations of the Federal Government.
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA , General Buba Marwa (retd.), who was billed to appear before the Senate Committee on Public Account on Wednesday to respond to the audit queries, however failed to attend the session.
The 11 queries raised against the agency are contained in the 2016 Report of the AuGF being considered by the Senate.
The AuGF queries read: “The Agency over spent Capital expenditures in 2015 by N12,986,372.00 (Twelve million, nine hundred and eighty-six thousand, three hundred and seventy-two naira) on the renovation of Jigawa State Command and Osun State Command.
“This act contravened Financial Regulation 419 which states that “…officers controlling votes are solely liable for unauthorised expenditure in excess of the sum allocated.” The Chairman/Chief Executive was requested to justify this violation of the Financial Regulation or recover the sum of N12,986,372.00 and furnish recovery particulars for verification.
“The sum of N43,228,750.00 (Forty-three million, two hundred and twenty-eight thousand, seven hundred and fifty naira) was spent on renovation and purchase of 5 (five) operational vehicles in Nasarawa State Command in 2015.
“A scrutiny of the Appropriation Act revealed that the amounts spent were not appropriated for by the National Assembly. The Chairman/Chief Executive, having failed to produce the authority for this expenditure, should recover the sum of N43,228,750.00 and furnish relevant particulars for verification.
“A sum of N42,603,261.94 (Forty-two million, six hundred and three thousand, two hundred and sixty-one naira, ninety-four kobo) granted as cash advances three years ago, to 9 (nine) officers of the Agency, were not retired, contrary to Financial Regulations.
“The Chairman/Chief Executive should recover the sum of N42,603,261.94 from the officers involved and forward evidence of recovery for verification.
“The Agency spent a sum of N2,577,150.00 (Two million, five hundred and seventy-seven thousand, one hundred and fifty naira) on professional fees, renewal of licence fees and seminar fees for its staff in 2015.
“This is contrary to Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Circular Ref. No HCSF/PSO/866/II/214 dated 1st March, 2009, which stopped payment of annual subscription of staff to professional bodies by Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The Chairman/Chief Executive should recover the amounts in question.
“The sum of N4,729,759.00 (Four million, seven hundred and twenty-nine thousand, seven hundred and fifty-nine naira) deducted as VAT and WHT from payments to contractors for services rendered to the Agency were not remitted to the relevant Tax Authority, contrary to Financial Regulation 234(i) which states that “it is mandatory for Accounting Officers to ensure full compliance with dual roles of making provision for the Value Added Tax and Withholding Tax (WHT) due on supply and services contract and actual remittance of same” and 234(ii) which states that ‘…Remittance of WHT and VAT shall be made within 21 days of deduction.’
“The Chairman/Chief Executive should remit the sum of N4,729,759.00 to the relevant Tax authority. Otherwise, the sanctions under Financial Regulation 3112(ii) should be invoked.
“The sum of N135,301,756.93 (One hundred and thirty-five million, three hundred and one thousand, seven hundred and fifty-six naira, ninety-three kobo) was spent by the Agency as against the sum of N103,216,923.00 (One hundred and three million, two hundred and sixteen thousand, nine hundred and twenty-three naira) appropriated,.
“This resulted in excess expenditure of N32,084,833.93 (Thirty-two million, eighty-four thousand, eight hundred and thirty-three naira, ninety-three kobo) on Security Vote for the year 2016, contrary to the provision of Financial Regulation 313 which states that ‘No expenditure on any subhead of the Recurrent Estimates in excess of the provision in the Approved estimates or Supplementary Estimates may be authorised by any officer controlling a vote without approval of the National Assembly.’
“Financial Regulation 419 also states that ‘Officers controlling votes are solely liable for unauthorized expenditure in excess of the sum allocated.’
“The Chairman/Chief Executive should justify the excess expenditure of N32,084,833.93.
“A sum of N169,336,264.36 (One hundred and sixty-nine million, three hundred and thirty-six thousand, two hundred and sixty-four naira, thirty-six kobo) was spent on Security Votes in 2015.
“Further examination of the Agency‟s Budget for that year, revealed that there was no appropriation for Security Vote by the National Assembly.
“The Chairman/Chief Executive should produce the authority for this expenditure or recover the sum of N169,336,264.36 and forward relevant details for verification
“Contract for the supply of 7 (seven) operational vehicles for a sum of N90,772,500.00 (Ninety million, seven hundred and seventy-two thousand, five hundred naira) was awarded without approval from the Ministerial Tender‟s Board.
“This contravened Section 16(2) of the Procurement Act of 2007 which states that “No fund shall be disbursed from Treasury or Federation Account or bank account of the procuring entity for any procurement falling above the set thresholds unless the cheques, or other form of request for payments is accompanied by ‘No objection Certificate’ to an award of contract duly signed by the Bureau.
“Financial Regulation 2906 also requires the Agency not to award contract above its threshold.
“The Chairman/Chief Executive was requested to void the contract, in compliance with Section 16(4) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, which states that “any procurement purported to be awarded without a Certificate of „No-Objection‟ duly signed by the Bureau shall be null and void” and recover the amounts already paid to the contractor.
“A cash advance of N2,350,000.00 (Two million, three hundred and fifty thousand naira) was paid to a staff for provision of furniture for the Guest House, while another sum of N700,000.00 (Seven hundred thousand naira) was paid to a contractor for production of 5,000 file jackets.
“These items were not taken on stores charge, contrary to Financial Regulation 2402 which states that on ‘all payment vouchers for the purchase of stores, the Store Keeper must certify that the stores have been received and taken on charge in the Store Ledger quoting the store receipt voucher number and attaching the original copy of the Store Receipt Voucher to the original LPO.’
“The Chairman/Chief Executive should produce evidence of receipt of the items into the store, or recover the amounts in question.
“Cash advances amounting to N8,629,600.00 (Eight million, six hundred and This twenty-nine thousand, six hundred naira) were granted to staff for various procurements. was contrary to Treasury Circular TRY A2&B/2009/OAGF/CAD/026/V dated 24th March, 2009, which stipulates that, ‘All Accounting Officers and officers controlling expenditures are to ensure that all local procurement of stores and services costing above N200,000.00 shall be made only by No. award of contracts.’
“The Chairman/Chief Executive should recover the sum of N8,629,600.00, as this cannot be regarded as a legitimate charge against public funds.
“The Director-General used green ink in giving approval for payments. This contravened Financial Regulation 3002 which restricts use of green ink to staff of the Auditor-General for the Federation.
“The Chairman/Chief Executive should henceforth restrain the Director-General from this practice. All the issues raised were brought to the attention of the Chairman/Chief Executive, but no response was received from the Agency.”