Senate queries N7bn in Ministry’s account without appropriation
Senate has queried the Ministry of Power over the sum of N7 billion smuggled into its budget without an appropriation from the National Assembly.
The Senate Committee on Public Accounts premised its query on the 2015 audit report of the Auditor-General of the Federal which was submitted to it for consideration.
The Committee chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide (Edo South) wondered how N7 billion could have appeared in the Ministry’s Accounts when the 2015 budget was yet to be passed and the account for 2014 was already closed.
The lawmakers noted that there was no evidence that such money was budgeted for in respect of the Hydropower Transmission Project in either the 2014 or 2015 fiscal year.
The Auditor General’s query reads: “The sum of N7 billion was received by the Ministry of Power in January 2015 as shown in the accounts. This fund was spread into 4 (Four) commercial banks under the Account name Hydropower Transmission Project.
“The budget for 2015 was not yet passed as at the time this money was received by the Ministry in January 2015
while the account for the year 2014 was already closed as of 31st December 2014.
“It was also observed that there was no evidence that such money was budgeted for in respect of the Hydropower Transmission Project in either 2014 or 2015 fiscal year of the Ministry Appropriation Act.”
But the Ministry of Power in a written response said, “The Federal Government released the money under the special Intervention Fund to the Ministry for the funding Hydroelectric Power Project.
“The fund was released as special warrant and therefore was outside of the Ministry’s approved budget.
“The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation approved project accounts for the fund in four different banks.”
According to the report, N2billion out of the fund was transferred to Diamond Bank, Heritage Bank – N2 billion, Access Bank – N2 billion, and Wema Bank – N1 billion.
It was gathered that the money approved by then-President as loan for the evacuation of 40MW of electricity generated from Kashimila Hydropower station.
The Chairman, Senator Urhogbide, however further demanded more documents to see whether the money was properly utilized as claimed by the Ministry of Power.
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