Auditor-General of the Federation Samuel Ukura on Monday told the Senate that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) did not remit N3.235 trillion to the Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, in 2014. Similarly, he said the sale of gas to Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, to the tune of $235,685,861 was not paid to the federation account; the money was transferred to what he called “some undisclosed escrow accounts.” He also disclosed that “the sum of N36.4 billion was released to the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, for the rehabilitation and construction of dams instead of to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.”
AGF Ukura further revealed that the management of the National Assembly, headed by the clerk, made payments of N9.514 billion without raising payment vouchers.
The AGF’s claims confirm that former CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was right, after all. Sanusi (now Emir of Kano) had, at the time (2014) blown the whistle on about $20billion unremitted by the NNPC to the federation account. Then President Jonathan suspended him from office.
Ukura’s statements were contained in the Federal Government’s 2014 audit report of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, which he presented to the leadership of the National Assembly.
The submitted audit report also captured embassies and foreign missions. Ukura, who presented a copy of the report to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, for onward presentation to both chambers, gave highlights of how moneys were diverted or spent by MDAs during the period under review. In the same period, the audit report said personal advances were granted to 112 staff of the National Assembly from recurrent votes and 50 members of staff from general service votes from July to December, 2014 for various purposes, all amounting to N1.162 billion.
He said: “Relevant documents were not made available for verification.” The report also indicated that acquisition and payment of N3,630,000,000 property was made without a Certificate of Occupancy, C of O. It was alleged in the report that a total payment, amounting to N73.55 billion was made, contrary to established purpose of the funds. “The sum of N2,894,531, 250.00 was spent for the procurement of hand sanitizers for schools and critical public places.
“The sum of N31,324,952,239.87 was for payment of subsidy on fertilizer and youth employment in agricultural programmes. “The sum of N2,395,851,978.00 was payment for group Life Assurance Premium for Armed Forces budget in 2013, but not backed. The sum of N500,000,000 was made as payment for agricultural programmes.
“These were variances with the purpose of the fund. No evidence of these lines of expenditure in the 2014 Appropriation Act,” the AGF revealed.
The AGF stated that the management of the National Assembly violated the nation’s financial regulations. In the audit report, the AGF revealed how the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington, D.C., United States of America, realized Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, between 2012 and March 2015, but expended the whole amount on sundry expenses, adding that they stood at $3,705,428.00.
The audit report indicted the leadership of the Nigerian Prisons Service as according to the AGF in the report, Pay As You Earn, PAYE, tax of N2,036,758,176.75 was deducted and said to be remitted to Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS. According to the report, there was no evidence of remittance and nothing was produced for audit confirmation.
Speaking on the menace of ghost workers in Nigeria, Ukura said the embarrassing syndrome of ghost workers would continue in Nigeria, if the current management of the Integrated Personel Payroll Information Systems, IPPIS, was not immediately checked by the appropriate authorities. He alleged that unidentified staff of Soft Alliance Limited, the software developers, have unhindered access to the database and usually set up new users and change live data from time to time.
In a brief interview with reporters, shortly after presenting the report to the Clerk, Ukura said the password controls for access to IPPIS were not adequate because the database could be accessed remotely through the internet. He noted that the password to access the IPPIS database does not expire after 90 days, thus making it possible for retired government officers to use their password after leaving office.
The AGF expressed concern that some user names and passwords were shared by several users and that most of them used words as ‘consultant’ or ‘technical’ with no restriction on the number of sign-in attempts. “The audit trail for the IPPIS has not been enabled and as a result, it is not always possible to trace which user made particular inputs or changes. For example, fraudulent transactions cannot be traced to a particular user.
“Application controls have not been activated in IPPIS to ensure that gross pay is input from salary and allowance tables, rather than the actual amounts being input directly. “Completeness checks are not activated to ensure that all necessary data as bank account number, grade level, and job title have been entered.
“Duplicate checks to determine that the bank account numbers or employee numbers are not used by more than one payee.
“Reasonableness checks not activated so that an officer’s age less than 18 years can still be paid while user profiles are not adequately restricted, hence an officer in one MDA can access the payroll data for other MDAs.
“The ability to create new users on the system is not adequately protected and restricted to a few ‘super users,” he stated. He said his office, as a result of the anomalies, discovered that about N330 million was paid to 300,000 people without following approved salary scale, while double payments of about N30 million was made within three months. He added that the imperfections in the IPPIS system had made the country lose huge sums of money, with the payment of N12 million each to 40 members of staff who were not included in the payroll of the relevant MDAs. He said 152 officers on IPPIS did not have personnel files in their MDAs, while N193m was paid to unidentified persons. Besides, he explained that N1.163m was paid to 596 employees with income tax deductions from April 2012 to September 2013 and that 2, 000 employees had no pension deductions.
—With additional reports by vanguardngr.com