The Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation has uncovered about N4.93bn unapproved allowances paid by the management of the National Health Insurance Scheme to its members of staff.
The discovery is contained in the 2017 audit report of the Auditor-General for the Federation, which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja.
The report, which was signed by the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr Anthony Ayine, stated that the N4.93bn was paid to members of staff between January 2016 and December 2017.
The report listed the irregular allowances to include upfront allowance, upfront differential allowance, 13th-month salary allowance, and pre-retirement overseas training allowance.
Others are a terminal benefit or exit package, and sitting allowance. It said the terminal benefit allowance is different from what the Contributory Pension Act provided for.
The report stated that these payments violated Public Service Rule 130102, as they were not part of the allowances listed as payable to officers in the Federal Public Service.
The report reads in part, “During the periodic check of National Health Insurance Scheme, Abuja, various irregular and unapproved allowances amounting to ¦ 4,931,475,094.63 were paid to members of staff during the period January 2016 to December 2017
“The payments violated Public Service Rule 130102, as they are not part of the allowances listed as payable to officers in the Federal Public Service.
“Allowance differential payment is illegal and alien to the public service as Public Service allowances are paid on the basis of Grade level as at the time of payment.
“Sitting allowance was paid for holding day to day committee meetings, for which the officers received salaries in violation of Circular Ref No. SWC/s/04/S.310/T/65 of 8th April 2016 which says that ‘Public officers on monthly salary are not entitled to sitting allowance for holding meetings in their offices.”
Ayine said in the report that despite the provision of Financial Regulation 3210(v) which stipulated that the Chief Executive Officers of government agencies must submit both the audited accounts and management reports to him not later than 31st May of the following year, about 265 of them had yet to comply as of June 30 this year.
He said while 160 agencies defaulted in the submission of audited accounts for 2016; the figure rose to 265 agencies in 2017.
In addition, he said 11 agencies have never submitted any financial statements since their inception.
He said, “A number of major weaknesses and lapses in the management of public funds and resources were identified across several MDAs during the annual audit.
“Our findings range from irregular expenditures to failure to surrender surplus revenues to the Treasury, all running into billions of naira. Also notable was the continuing failures in the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
“Overall, our findings are indicative of significant weaknesses in expenditure control, accounting, financial reporting and in the completeness and accuracy of the consolidated financial statements.
As was in previous years, the Auditor-General picked a hole in the annual budgeting process of the Federal Government, stating that they are unable to support genuine development.
‘IAUE’s Post Graduate School’ll Be A Class Of Its Own’
On completion of the Post Graduate School Complex of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUE), Rumuolumeni, the complex will be in a class of its own in Nigeria.
Making this Known recently, during the colloquium held in honour of late Chief Emmanuel W. Aguma, at the auditorium of the university, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ozo-Mekuri Ndimele, said the facilities at the graduate school are all state-of-the art.
“The Postgraduate school is where we are working very hard to make a difference. We are just three years old, but we have dwarfed and overtaken most of the older Universities around us in postgraduate studies.
“Whereas most of the universities around us have no separate classrooms for graduate programmes, we have built 16 new postgraduate classrooms fitted with modern, Wi-Fi, air- conditioners, and small boards, all within the three years of our administration”, he said.
He continued that “When the complex is ready, our postgraduate school will pride as the best accommodated and the most well equipped in Nigeria in terms of infrastructure”. Prof. Ndimele used the occasion to thank the Aguma family for contributing a 10 lecture halls building to the graduate school in their pursuit of academic excellence.
“ It is gratifying to note that today’s ceremony is in two phases: The first phase is what we are doing now, that is the colloquium, where experts and close associates of the late Chief Emmanuel W. Aguma have been assembled to present on the life and times of the legend himself and much more.
“The second phase of today’s event is the ground breaking ceremony for the proposed Chief Emmanuel Aguma Post Graduate Complex, comprising 10 lecture halls, a language laboratory and offices at the New Haven Layout of the main campus.
“All these are courtesy of the Late Chief Emmanuel Aguma’s family to further immortalise their son, husband and father. We cannot thank the family enough”, he said.
In his presentation, as one of the guest speakers at the colloquium, Chief Emmanuel Aguma delved into the life and times of the Late Aguma from the political perspective.
The life and times and achievement of Sir Aguma is no doubt very important references to the younger generation.
“I have taken pains to go through all these for younger generation to know that here in Rebisi, God Almighty had created a rare human being who realised that mandate of a people is a sacred commission to serve with honour, integrity and truth”, he stated.
Late Chief Emmanuel Aguma was the first provost of the College of Education, which metamorphosed into Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
RATTAWU Wants Regularisation Of Casual Workers’ Appointment In S’ South
The South-South National Vice President of RATTAWU, Comrade Christian Saro Gonole, has called for the regularisation of the appointment of all casual workers in the services of state owned media and cultural outfits across the South-South Zone.
South-South National Vice President of RATTAWU Comrade Christian Saro Gonole made the call at the 8th Triennial Delta State Delegates Conference of the Union in Asaba.
Comrade Christain Saro Gonole who described the continuous casualisation of its members as a direct rape on the right of employment called for the understanding of respective state Governments in the South-South Zone in the regularisation of the casual workers with dispatch.
The South-South RATTAWU leader said the engagement of a casual worker more than three months tantamount to the denial of the affected worker of his right to gainful employment and violates extant labour laws.
Insecurity, Killings In Nigeria, Worrisome -Catholic Bishop
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, has decried the spate of killings across the country.
The Bishop made a call for the establishment of local and state security organs to tackle security challenges in all parts of the country.
Bishop Ezeokafor made the call in a homily he delivered recently, during the burial Mass of late Mrs Rebecca Mgboye Amatu (mother of the Catholic Bishop of Okigwe Diocese, Most Rev Solomon Amatu), at St Simon’s Catholic Church, Ukpo, Anambra State.
He said there was urgent need for local security apparatus in all the six regions and the 36 states of Nigeria in order to augment the federal security.
He said, “We regret the recent murder of the former chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Mr Lawan Andimi, by suspected terrorists. We regret that the sacredness of human life had been ridiculed in this country.”
“The manner in which Mr Andimi was butchered is inhuman. The sacredness of the human life had been desecrated. Human beings are being slaughtered regularly by terrorists who are suspected to have targeted the Christians. Security of life and property can no longer be guaranteed in Nigeria. Worse still is that the Federal Government has not been able to address the menace of insecurity,” the bishop stated.
He said the Federal Government ought to support the local security apparatus like Amotekun instituted by governors of the West so as to ensure that optimum security was maintained. This was even as he called for effective local security system in other regions of Nigeria.
Bishop Ezeokafor recalled how two priests of the Catholic Diocese of Awka were kidnapped in Ondo State and were rescued, using the Anambra State Government’s security apparatus,.
He praised Anambra as being relatively safe, compared to other states of the federation.
He commended Gov Obiano of Anambra State and stressed the need for such good security network to be replicated in other states of Nigeria.
The Catholic prelate called on the government at all levels to provide enabling environment for security of life and property, as well as the necessary amenities the masses needed to enjoy their lives.
He said any government that was unable to better the lives of its citizens should surrender governance.
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