The Senate has upheld a finding by the Office of the auditor-general (OAGF) that the federal ministry of Justice did not follow proper procedure in disbursing amounts awarded as judgement debt against the federal government.
According to the OAGF report, between 2017 and 2018, N10.4 billion was designated as judgement debts and disbursed without the need for a committee.
According to the report, the ministry last had such a committee in 2013.
Since 2015, Abubakar Malami has held the positions of minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation (AGF).
The upper legislative chamber adopted the report’s findings on May 10, but the specifics were not made public until the weekend.
Mathew Uhroghide, a senator representing Edo south, chairs the senate public accounts committee that examined the OAGF report.
The budget of the federal ministry of justice allocated N460.95 million for the payment of judgement debts in 2016 and N10 billion for the same purpose in 2017, for a total of N10.46 billion, according to the report.
“Further investigation revealed that the committee charged with administering the fund was dissolved following the 2013 fiscal year and has not been reconstituted following the 2016 and 2017 appropriations.
“However, the ministry has been disbursing this sum without a committee in place.”
According to the report, if the practice is permitted to continue, the federal government will lose funds designated to pay judgement obligations.
The Senate concurred with the OAGF that the Ministry of Justice should promptly cease disbursing the funds and form a panel for this purpose.
The upper legislative chamber voted to forward the findings to the SGF for further action.
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