SENATE ORDERS ACCOUNTANT-GENERAL TO REFUND N74 BILLION

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The senate has begun a probe of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) for paying N74 billion as social benefits without giving a comprehensive breakdown in the 2016 budget.

In the 2016 report, the Auditor-General of the Federation had raised concern over the payment of N262.4bn as social benefits against the N188bn provided for in the budget, resulting in extra-budgetary payment of N74bn without a breakdown.

The query read in part” The total cost for social benefits amounted to N262.3 billion whereas the budget amount for the period was N188bn as contained in the budget report, resulting in the extra-budgetary expenditure of N74bn.

“In addition, it was observed that there was no breakdown of the total social benefits cost of N262bn disbursed to the different individual which were slated for gratuity, pension and death benefits that make up social benefits.”

When the representative of the Account General appeared before the Senate Public Accounts Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide to respond to the query, the Accountant General accepted the observation of the Auditor General.

The committee observed that the Accountant General could not address the query.

The committee, therefore, recommended to the Senate that the Account General should refund N74bn in line with financial regulation.

The recommendation of the committee that the N74bn be refunded into the federation account was adopted by the Senate.

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