The office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (AGF) has found that eight payment vouchers worth N343.95 million raised by the Ministry of Water Resources in 2017 were missing and not presented for audit, the 2017 Audit report of the ministry revealed.
The report, which was prepared by the office and signed by the AGF, Anthony Ayine, had been submitted to the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly.
It also disclosed a number of major weaknesses and lapses in the management of public funds and resources, some of which had been reported by Nairametrics, were identified across several ministries, departments and agencies during the annual audit.
The findings range from irregular expenditures to failure to surrender surplus revenues to the treasury, all running into billions of naira.
It also stated the continuing failure in the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
Details of Ministry of Water audit: Ayine in the audit report noted that the inability of the Ministry of Water Resources to present the payment vouchers for audit violated the provisions of section 85(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and Financial Regulation 108.
Based on the violation committed by the ministry, AGF state that the amount incurred on the vouchers could not be regarded as legitimate charges against public funds.
He said in the report, “Based on the action of the ministry, the Federal Government might have lost the sum of N343.95million as there was no evidence of work done or service rendered.
“When audit queries were issued to the ministry, the permanent secretary in his response produced only two payment vouchers amounting to N4.47million. Six payment vouchers totaling N339.47m were not produced by the permanent secretary for audit purposes.
“The amount incurred on those vouchers cannot be regarded as legitimate charges against public funds. The government may have lost the sum of N343,957,350.60, as there is no evidence of work done or service rendered. Sanctions, as contained in the Financial Regulation 3106, should be invoked. The permanent secretary is required to account for the sum of N339,479,335.60 not presented for audit.”
Meanwhile, Nairametrics had reported that the audit report revealed that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), under its immediate past Executive Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, failed to collect taxes worth about N41 billion in Lagos as it has not been able to meet up with its target over the past four consecutive years.
The taxes, which are yet to be collected from companies, government agencies, and local government councils, are valued at N40.8 billion.
In the report for the year ended December 2017, the Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF), Anthony Ayine, said the observation was made during the review of records filed by Companies at Federal Inland Revenue Service Micro and Small Tax Offices (MSTO), Medium Tax Offices (MTO), Large Tax Offices (LTO) and Government Business Tax Offices (GBTO) within the South–west Zone comprising of Lagos, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo states.
He said the uncollected taxes, which range from Company Income Tax, Value Added Tax, withholding tax, education tax, to Capital Gains Tax, may prevent the federal government from meeting its projected revenue.