Nigeria

Senate Probes Federal High Court Over Missing N456 Million

The Senate on Friday, November 27, 2020, has asked the Federal High Court to provide its personnel cash book over an unexplained difference of N456 million in the staff salaries.

Matthew Urhoghide, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo South led Committee on Public Accounts, is asking for the amount following a report before it from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation.

The Auditor General of the Federation has issued a query on personnel cashbook balance from January to December 2015.

The query read, ” Personnel Account cashbook from January to December 2015 was N2.4 billion while the transcript closing balance was N2.9 billion giving unexplained N456 million in the personnel Account cashbook.

“The Chief Registrar has been requested to reconcile the difference and forward the reconciliation for audit verification.”

In a written response, the Federal High Court said, ” In the personnel cashbook, judges’ and staff salaries are usually prepared separately, these figures are summed up under corresponding line -items in the transcript.

“The total sum of closing balance as extracted from personnel cashbook of 2015 is N3 billion.

“The sum picked from February to July were the closing balances only while omitting the judges closing balances. These omission amounts to the differences observed by the Auditors.”

Not satisfied with the presentation of the Federal High Court, Senator Urhoghide asked the FHC to submit its personnel cashbook for the committee to look at it.

All efforts by the officials of Federal High Court, led by the Chief Accountant of the Federal High Court, Kazeem Awoyemi to defend the unexplained N456 million was not acceptable to the lawmakers during the public hearing.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Senate Committee on Public Accounts has said that the Office of the Auditor General of Federation has no capacity to Audit the National budget effectively.

Urhoghide who lamented that there is a conspiracy against the Office of Auditor General to fail stressed that there was the need to push the Accountant General of Federation to submit its report to Office.

The Chairman spoke during an interactive session with Paradigm Leadership Support Initiatives, a civil society organisation.

The Committee also queried the Federal High Court for payment of N18 million that was meant for 38 officers into a single account.

It was stated in the query that there was no evidence that 37 other officers were actually paid by the Federal High Court.

An official of the High Court admitted that it could be an error, but all concerned officers were paid.

But, Senator Biodun Olujimi, PDP, Ekiti South kicked against the defence of the Federal High Court saying no judge will tolerate this mistake.

Source: Vanguard

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