An audit report has revealed how the sum of N10.4 billion was approved and released by the ministry of justice under Abubakar Malami without due process.
According to the PUNCH, the audit, conducted by the office of the auditor-general of the federation (AGF) and signed by Anthony Ayine, the auditor general, showed the amount was released in 2017.
The report was said to have also shown how officials of the ministry spent N32.5 million on foreign travels for only about six months without approval.
It said the judgement debt, usually awarded to a winning party against the losing party in court, was disbursed when the committee in charge of how such funds was yet to be reconstituted after being disbanded in 2013.
The report read: “Examination of the budget of the Federal Ministry of Justice revealed that the sum of N460.95m was appropriated for payment of judgment debts for 2016 and N10bn appropriated for 2017, totalling N10.46bn.
“Further examination revealed that the committee saddled with the responsibility of managing the fund was dissolved after the 2013 financial year and is yet to be reconstituted after the 2016 and 2017 appropriations.
“However, the ministry has been disbursing this sum without a committee in place. Lack of control could lead to loss of public funds.”
The report added that the sum of N32.5 million was expended as estacodes and return air tickets for officials of the ministry of justice between March and September without due process.
It said 68 vouchers from payments amounting to N71.19 billion and paid between March and August, 2017 were not produced for audit, as required by the constitution.
“The inability of the ministry to attach evidence of approval from the Head of Service (in the case of the civil servants) and approvals from the President (in case of a minister) was a violation of the provision of the circular HCSF/CSO/HRM/POL.1420/1 dated January 22, 2015 and HCS/PS/SPSO/244/1/26 of July 25 2016, respectively,” the report was quoted as stating.
“Incurring expenditures without necessary approvals could lead to loss of public funds,” it added.
“The Solicitor-General of the Federation and permanent secretary is requested to recover the sum of N32.35m and pay to Consolidated Revenue Fund and evidence of recovery forwarded for my confirmation.”
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