The Senate has raised the alarm on how the Ministry of Power smuggled over N7 billion smuggled into the Ministry’s budget without an appropriation from the National Assembly.
The Senate has observed that there was no evidence that such money was budgeted for in respect of the Hydropower Transmission Project in either the 2014 or 2015 fiscal year.
Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo South led Senate Committee on Public Accounts is raising the alarm of how the Ministry spent such amount of money without getting approval from the National Assembly in line with the law.
The Committee is relying on the query raised by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation in the 2015 report and brought before it for probe and subsequent presentation to the Senate at Plenary.
The Urhoghide led Committee has however expressed shock on how N7 billion could appear in the Ministry’s Account when the 2015 budget was not passed then and the account for 2014 already closed at the time.
The Query reads, “The sum of N7 billion was received by the Ministry of Power in January 2015 as shown in the accounts. This fund was spread into 4 (Four) commercial banks under the Account name Hydropower Transmission Project.
“The budget for 2015 was not yet passed as at the time this money was received by the Ministry in January 2015 while the account for the year 2014 was already closed as at 31st December 2014.
“It was also observed that there was no evidence that such money was budgeted for in respect of the Hydropower Transmission Project in either 2014 or 2015 fiscal year of the Ministry Appropriation Act.”
But the Ministry of Power in a written response said, ” The Federal government released the money total amount under the special Intervention Fund to the Ministry for the funding Hydroelectric Power Project.
“The fund was released as special warrant and therefore was outside of the Ministry’s approved budget.
“The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation approved project accounts for the fund in four different banks.
“The fund was transferred to Diamond Bank – N2 billion, Heritage Bank – N2 billion, Access Bank – N2 billion, and Wema Bank – N1 billion.
It was gathered that the money was approved by the then President as a loan for the evacuation of 40MW generated from Kashimila Hydropower station.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Urhogbide however further demanded more documents to verify whether the money was properly utilized as claimed by the Ministry of Power.