The upper chamber of the National Assembly has embarked on an investigation of the secret withdrawal of N151 billion from the Federation Account by the Budget Office.
The withdrawal, it was learnt happened in 2015.
The Senate Committee on Public Accounts Committee chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, relied on the 2016 Audit Report submitted to the National Assembly by the Office of Auditor Of the Federation.
But, the budget Office claimed that the N151 billion reported in the Auditor-General Report was neither received nor spent by the agency.
In a written response, the Budget Office said: “The N151 billion reported in the Auditor-General Report was neither received nor spent by the Budget Office. Hence the figure was not recorded in the relevant Budget Office books.”
The Office of the Auditor-General in its query had said, “the Budget Office of the Federation expended the sum of N151,371,407,619.10 (One hundred and fifty-one billion, three hundred and seventy-one million, four hundred and seven thousand, six hundred and nineteen naira, ten kobo) above its approved budget for the year 2015.
“This was extra-budgetary spending incurred without recourse to the National Assembly, in contravention of Section 80(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which stipulates that ‘no money shall be withdrawn from the CRF of the Federation except to meet expenditure that is charged upon the Fund by this Constitution or where the issues of those amounts of money have been authorized by an Appropriation Act, Supplementary Appropriation Act or an Act passed in pursuance of Section 81 of this Constitution. In view of this, it is difficult to accept the extra-budgetary expenditure of N151,371,407,619.10 as a proper and legitimate charge against public funds.
“The Director-General should furnish necessary approval(s) and warrants for the sum of N151,371,407,619.10 to my Office for audit verification.”
The Budget Office failed to appear before the Committee to clarify the allegation raised by the Auditor General as the invitation extended to the agency was not honoured.