Officials of the Ministry of Works and Housing are enmeshed in N692 million “fictitious” contracts scandal for the purchase of vehicles, computer accessories, photocopying production machine and airing of special video documentary and the Senate has ordered a refund to the national treasury.
The fictitious contracts were uncovered in the 2018 report of the Auditor General of the Federation.The report was considered by the Senate Public Accounts Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide.
The committee discovered that a contract of N343 million was awarded for the purchase of project monitoring vehicles without due process, with the vehicles not supplied.
Another contract was awarded for services and direct purchase of vehicles spare parts, computer accessories, photocopying machine parts and for designing of Nigerian roads and bridges at N139 million.
In addition, it was discovered that N210 million meant for documentary was split into N130 million and N80 million paid into a staff account contravening Financial Regulation.
The Committee sent series of invitations to the Ministry of Works to defend the allegation raised by the Auditor General of the Federation.
But the Officials of the Ministry ignored the invitations.
The Committee said it had no other option than to sustain the position of the Auditor General.
The Senate therefore upheld the recommendation of the Committee on the matter when the report was submitted for consideration.
The query reads: “Audit observed that the sum of N343 million was paid for the purchase of 36 project monitoring vehicles without following due process.
“Further examination revealed that the 36 vehicles were not received into the store as there was no document to show such delivery.”
Another query reads: “Audit observed that advances in the sum of N139 million were granted on service and direct purchase of vehicles spare part, computer accessories, Photocopying machine parts for designing of Nigerian roads and bridges.
“There was no store record of those items to show that they were purchased.”
The third query reads: “Audit observed that N210 million meant for documentary was split into N130 million and N80 million paid into a staff account contravening FR 713.
“Further examination revealed that the sum of N130 million was capturing developmental projects which included other ministries like: Finance, Agriculture, Transport, Petroleum Resources, Mines and Steel and Trade and investment.
“There was no receipt or retirement particulars attached to the payment vouchers to.justify the payment.
“The approval for the sum of N80 million was made to the Director of Finance and Account which was above his approval.limit.
“There was no evidence to show who the producer of the documentary was, or whether they were selected on a competitive basis.
“There was no evidence to show the work was actually done.”
The Senate Committee in its recommendation, which was upheld by the Senate, said the the Permanent Secretary is required to account for the fund and pay it back into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.