Senate probes NDLEA over alleged unapproved spending

The Senate has begun investigation of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for carrying out a spending tagged ‘security votes’ without appropriation by the National Assembly.

The investigation follows audit queries issued against the NDLEA in the ‘Auditor-General for the Federation’s Annual Report on Non-Compliance/Internal Control Weaknesses Issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Year Ended 31st December, 2019.’

 The Acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, had presented the report to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Ojo Amos, on September 15, 2021, while the Senate and House Committees on Public Accounts began investigation of the queries.

In its written response to the query, the NDLEA however said, “There was no enough allocation for security vote and being (an) agency that carries out most of its activities on information and intelligence, the management had no option but to make provision from its recurrent allocation for security and information from sub-head.”

The query read in part, “A  sum  of  N169,336,264.36  was  spent  on Security  Votes  in  2015.  Further examination  of  the  agency’s  budget  for  that  year revealed that  there was no appropriation for Security Vote by the National Assembly.

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“The  Chairman/Chief Executive should  produce the authority for this  expenditure or recover  the sum  of  N169,336,264.36  and forward relevant details for verification.”

Another query said NDLEA spent N135m on security votes against the N103m that was budgeted, resulting in N32m excess.

The query read in part, “The  sum  of  N135,301,756.93 was  spent  by the agency,  as  against  the  sum  of  N103,216,923.00 appropriated. This  resulted  in  excess  expenditure  of  N32,084,833 on  security  vote  for the  year  2016,  contrary  to  the  provision  of  Financial  Regulation  313  which  states  that ‘No  expenditure  on  any  subhead  of  the  recurrent  estimates  in  excess  of  the  provision in  the  approved  estimates  or  supplementary  estimates  may  be  authorised  by  any officer  controlling  a  vote  without  approval  of  the  National  Assembly.’

“Financial Regulation  419  also  states that  ‘officers  controlling votes  are  solely  liable  for unauthorised expenditure  in excess of the sum allocated. The Chairman/Chief  Executive should  justify the  excess expenditure of N32,084,833.93.”

However, the NDLEA, in its written response, said, “There was no excess spending of security votes as claimed by the auditors in 2016 year of assessment; the sum of N103m was spent that year leaving untilised balance of N785,189.57.”

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