The Senate has begun a probe of the Accountant of the Federation for paying N74bn as social benefits without giving a comprehensive breakdown in the 2016 budget.
The Auditor General of the Federation in the 2016 report had raised concern over the payment of N262.4bn as social benefits against the N188bn provided for in the budget, resulting in extra-budgetary payment of N74bn without a breakdown.
The query read in part” The total cost for social benefits amounted to N262.3 billion whereas the budget amount for the period was N188bn as contained in the budget report, resulting in the extra-budgetary expenditure of N74bn.
“In addition, it was observed that there was no breakdown of the total social benefits cost of N262bn disbursed to the different individual which were slated for gratuity, pension and death benefits that make up social benefits.”
When the representative of the Account General appeared before the Senate Public Accounts Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide to respond to the query, the Accountant General accepted the observation of the Auditor General.
The committee observed that the Accountant General could not address the query.
The committee, therefore, recommended to the Senate that the Account General should refund N74bn in line with financial regulation.
The Senate adopted the recommendation of the committee for the refund of N74bn into the federation account.