Senate probes budget office over oral approval by DG to pay N19bn to four MDAs

Senate on Tuesday began an investigation of the budget office over illegal payment of N19 billion to four agencies.

The fund was said to have been paid to the agencies following a verbal directive given by the director-general of the budget office in 2015.

The Senate Panel hinged the Investigation of the budget office on the 2016 Auditor General’s report which is currently being considered by a committee chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide.

However, representatives of the budget office failed to appear before the Senate Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday.

The budget office in a written response to the auditor general’s query said, “the details of MDAs under the reference have not been provided to enable us to respond appropriately.”

The auditor in the 2016 report said that “four MDAs were paid the sum of N19 billion from the service wide vote without the approval of the Honorable Minister of Finance.

“Some of the payments were made on a purported verbal directive from the director-general.

“This act is against Financial Regulations 301 and 302 which state that ‘recurrent expenditure is paid from CRF and no expenditure may be incurred except on the authority of a warrant issued by the minister of finance.’

“The director-general should provide evidence of approval from the ministry of finance for these expenditures or recover the sum of N19 billion from benefiting MDAs.”

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