THE EXECUTIVE 12/12/2021
Auditor General Queries Amnesty Office N176m For Consultancy, Stationery
The Auditor General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, has queried the Presidential Amnesty Programme Office for illegally paying N187million for the supply of stationeries, consultancy service and vocational training without due process.
The AuGF query is contained in the 2016 and 2017 Reports of the AuGF being considered by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide.
It was learnt that a series of invitations extended to the Presidential Amnesty Office by the panel were yet to be honoured.
It was further learnt that the Presidential Amnesty Office is expected to appear before Senate panel next week Wednesday barring any last minute changes.
A cursory look at the reports showed that N75 million was paid to a contractor for the supply of stationery without due process or submission to competitive bidding.
Another N87million was said to have been for consultancy service to organise an end of year conference for the stakeholders of the Niger Delta region.
However, the date and venue of the conference were not disclosed, according to the report.
Another N14 million was said to have been paid for vocational training and empowerment/business set up for 24 Niger Delta youths at an Institute in Akwuke, Enugu State.
It was revealed that the payment of 15% (N14 million) mobilization fee was done without evidence of Bank Guarantee.
The query reads: “Audit observed that a payment voucher No. OSAPND/OC-C/368/2017 dated 18th December 2017 for the sum of N 87,917,500 was paid for the provision of consultancy service to organise the end of year conference for the stakeholders of the Niger Delta region.
“Further investigation revealed the following: Date and venue of the conference not disclosed. List of the stakeholders that attended the conference not attached. The communique/report of the conference not sighted.
“No documentary evidence that the stakeholders’ conference was held.
“This could lead to misappropriation of public funds. The Special Adviser is required to respond to the issues raised in 1 to 4 above, otherwise the sum of N87,917,500 should be recovered and paid to Treasury and evidence of recovery forwarded to National Assembly and the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation for confirmation. In addition, sanctions in line with Financial Regulation 3129 should apply.”
Another query reads, “Section 35(I) of the Public Procurement Act 2007 requires that, ‘all mobilization fees of not more than 15% supported by an unconditional bank guarantee or insurance bond may be paid to suppliers or contractors.’
“Examination of payment voucher No: OSAPND/OC-C/082/2017 of 3rd July 2017 for the sum of N14,931,000.00 being 15% of the contract value for the provision of vocational training and empowerment/business set up for 24 Niger Delta youths at an Institute in Akwuke, Enugu State, revealed that the payment of 15% mobilization was made without evidence of Bank Guarantee.
“The above action exposes the public fund to avoidable risk of loss should the contractor decide to abandon the programme.
“The Special Adviser is required to provide evidence of bank guarantee otherwise the sum of N14,931,000.00 should be recovered from the contractor and evidence of recovery be forwarded to the National Assembly as well as the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation for confirmation. Sanction in line with Financial Regulation 3117 should apply.”
The query on supply of stationery reads: “Financial Regulation 2922(iii) states that, ‘a national competitive bidding shall be advertised on the board of the procuring entity, and in the procurement journal, at least six (6) weeks before the date for submission of bids.’
“Audit observed that the sum of N75,282,900.00 was paid to a contractor for the supply of stationery.
“Further scrutiny of the payment vouchers No; OSAPND/OC-C/87/2016 dated 28th December 2016 revealed that the contract was awarded without due process as it was not subjected to competitive bidding, no letter of agreement signed, etc. This action contravenes the Financial Regulation quoted above.
“Award of contract without due process suggests likely misappropriation of funds. There is also the possibility that correct specification of items would not be supplied and value for money not derived.
“The Special Adviser is required to forward evidence that due process had been observed otherwise the sum of N75,282,900.00 should be recovered and paid to the Treasury of the Federation and evidence of the payment be forwarded to the National Assembly and the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation for verification.”