The Senate has begun a probe of the Budget Office over alleged illegal payment of N19 billion to four agencies based on verbal approval.
The Budget Office has failed to appear before the Senate Public Accounts Committee to defend the N19 billion allegation that was given verbally by its director general in 2015.
The Senate panel hinged the probe on the 2016 Auditor General’s Report which is currently being considered by the Public Account Committee chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide.
The budget office was number one on the list of the agencies expected to respond to the auditor general’s query, but failed to appear before the lawmakers.
The Budget Office, however, in a written response to the query of the auditor general said: “the details of MDAs under the reference have not been provided to enable us to respond appropriately.”
The auditor in the 2016 report said, “ Four MDAs were paid the sum of N19 billion from the service wide vote without the approval of the Minister of Finance.
“Some of the payments were made on a purported verbal directive from the Director General.
“This Act is against Financial Regulations 301 and 302 which state that “ recurrent expenditure is paid from CRF and no expenditure may be incurred except on the authority of a warrant issued by the Minister of Finance.
“The director-general should provide evidence of approval from the Ministry of Finance for these expenditures or recover the sum of N19 billion from benefiting MDAs, “ the Senate insisted.