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Government of Rogues: Audit Exposes N38 Billion Fraud Under Delta Governor As Accountant General, Joy Enwa, Swears To Keep Quiet

Secrets Reporters

Damning findings buried within the Delta State Audit Report for the fiscal year 2020 have exposed glaring irregularities that strike at the very core of financial accountability, indicating a shocking deviation between the approved budget amounts and the actual funds released for numerous items, creating an unsettling picture of financial mismanagement within the State government.

According to the Audit, which was obtained by SecretsReporters, the approved budget allocations for various items significantly differed from the actual funds disbursed. The most alarming aspect of this discovery is that the released amounts consistently surpassed the approved figures, raising serious concerns about transparency, fiscal responsibility, and adherence to budgetary constraints.

Data concealed in the audit revealed that this financial impropriety cuts across most of the agencies in the State. This online media gathered from the audit that no fewer than 20 agencies and ministries were involved in this budget racketeering.

What is particularly concerning is that in the year under consideration, Nigeria was on lockdown for many months due to the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19.

Approved Budget Vs Released Funds

It was stated that the total budget provision for regular overhead for “The Office The Special Adviser Labour And Servicom” was N10,000,000 while the revised budget was N7,500,000.00. However, a total of N10,761,000.00, was released for regular overhead while the actual audited expenditure was N10,757,041.77 resulting to a variance (surplus) of N3,257,041.77.

For the Directorate of Government House Protocol, the total budget provision for Regular Overhead for the year was N234,076,900.00 while the Revised Budget was pegged at N175,557,675.00. However, the office went ahead to spend N221,313,782.42, flamboyantly surpassing the Revised Budget.

In a similar move, the audit revealed that the ‘Head of Service’ regular overhead total budget provision for the year 2020 was ₦20,520,000.00 while the Revised Budget was N15,390,000. However, the total amount released was ₦19,395,000.00, which was also the actual expenditure incurred in the period. This resulted to a variance (surplus) of ₦4,005,000.00

The Ministry of Finance had a budget of N19,800,000.00 for regular overhead while the Revised Budget was N14,850,000.00. But contrary to the figure approved in the revised budget, N18,962,500.00 was released. The audited expenditure is N18,957,669.33 resulting to a variance (surplus) of N4,107,669.33.

It was business as usual in the Ministry of Justice as the budget provision for the year 2020 in respect of Regular Overhead was N7,200,000.00 while the Revised Budget was pegged at N5,400,000. In stark defiance to the approved revised budget, N7,200,000 was released to the ministry, resulting to a variance (surplus) of N1,800,000.

This online media further gathered from the audit report that the Ministry of Trade and Investment’s Regular Overhead’s budgeted provision for the year 2020 was N13,500,000.00 while the Revised Budget was 10,125,000.00. But, the office of the account general released N12,488,749.12 to the ministry. This resulted to a variance (surplus) of N1,306,300.00.

The Regular Overhead for the Office of The Surveyor-General’s total Budget provision for the year 2020 was N5,400,000.00 while the Revised Budget was N4,050,000.00. However, a bloated amount of N5,250,000.00 was released which resulted in a variance (surplus) of N1,144,900.

Things were not different at the Ministry of Water Resources Development as the money released was higher than the revised budget. The total budget provision for the year 2020 for Regular Overhead was 14,334,000.00 while the Revised Budget was N10,750,500.00. However, a total of N12,243,499.00, was released which resulted to a variance (surplus) of N1,470,625.00.

In the Ministry of Energy, the Regular Overhead Budget provision for the year 2020 was N16,800,000.00 while the Revised Budget was N12,600,000. But, the total amount released was N13,700,000.00 and the actual expenditure incurred in the period was N13,800,450.00. This resulted to a variance (surplus) of 1,200,450.00.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Regular Overhead’s total budgeted provision for the year 2020 was N13,800,000.00 while the Revised Budget was N10,350,000. Overlooking the Revised Budget, the accountant-general’s office released N11,787,500.00 which resulted to a variance (surplus) of N841,580.00.

In the same line of action, it was stated that the Ministry of Youth Development’s Non-Regular Overhead’s total budgeted provision for the year 2020 was N87,500,000.00 and the Revised Budget wasN65,625,000.00. Nevertheless, the total amount released was N73,619,600.00 and this resulted to a variance (surplus) of N4,750,000.

According to the audit, the Civil Service Commission, Asaba’s Non-Regular Overhead’s total budget provision for the year was N96,000,000.00 while the Revised Budget was N56,000,000. However, the revised and realignment budget was N49,800,000. The actual expenditure incurred was N53,172,100.00 resulting in a variance (surplus) of N3,372,100.00.

The audit had it that the Ministry of Science and Technology, Asaba had a total budget provision of N12,120,000 for Regular Overhead while the Revised Budget was N9,090,000.00. But the ministry nefariously spent N14,587,500.00 resulting in a variance (surplus) of N5,497,500.

More so, the Regular Overhead budget for the Directorate of Culture & Tourism, Asaba, was N18,800,000 while the Revised Budget was N10,350,000.00. Contrary to the figure pegged in the Revised Budget, a total of N11,325,850.00 was released to the agency, resulting to a variance (surplus) expenditure of N975,850.00.

For Delta State Liaison Office, Lagos, the Regular Overhead total Revised Budget provision for the year was N16,875,000.00. However, N37,486,089.32 was released, resulting to a surplus expenditure of N20,611,089.32. In the same office, Non Regular Overhead total Revised Budget provision for the year was N15,750,000.00 but a whooping N24,482,222.06 was released.

A check on the Delta State Public Procurement Commission revealed the same pattern of over bloated spending. According to the audit, Non Regular Overhead total budget provision for the year was N36,000,000 while the Revised Budget was N27,000,000. However a total of N33,062,501.71 was released, resulting in a variance (surplus) of N4,451,779.56.

Digging further, it was uncovered that the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development was not different from its counterparts as it recorded a variance (surplus) of N3,862,500.00. It was stated that Regular Overhead total budget provision for the year 2020 was N13,800,000.00 while the revised budget was N10,350,000.00.00. However, a total of N14,212,500.00 was released, beating both the original and revised budgets.

Despite reviewing the budget for the Board of Internal Revenue’s Regular Overhead from ₦3,000,000,000.00 to N2,250,000,000.00, a total of ₦2,999,990,664.67 was released, resulting to a variance (surplus) of ₦749,990,664.67.

The Judiciary was not different in this pattern of spending as the audit revealed that the amount released for Regular Overhead for Customary Court of Appeal was above both the original and revised budgets. The total budget provision for the year 2020 was ₦60,000,000.00 while the Revised Budget was N45,000,000.00. However, a total of ₦64,465,899.00 was released to the court, resulting to a variance (surplus) of N19,465,899.00.

In the same vein, the Non Regular Overhead total budget provision for the year 2020 for the Customary Court of Appeal was ₦57,500,000.00 while the Revised Budget was N43,125,000.00. But, ₦46,032,912.00 was released, resulting to a variance (surplus) of ₦2,907,912.00.

For the High Court of Justice, the Regular Overhead’s total budget provision for the year 2020 was ₦144,000,000.00 while the Revised Budget was 108,000,000.00. However, the total amount released was ₦138,393,261.50, resulting to a variance (surplus) of ₦30,393,261.50.

The Directorate of Cabinet and Administration’s Regular Overhead total budget provision for the year 2020 was ₦22,200,000.00 while the Revised Budget was N16,650,000.00. But contrary to the Revised Budget, a total of ₦17,944,550.00 was released, resulting to a variance (surplus) of ₦1,294,550.00. The Non-Regular Overhead budget was N21,500,000.00 while the Revised Budget was N16,125,000.00. The amount released was ₦35,316,434.95, beating both the main and revised budgets. This resulted to a variance (surplus) of ₦19,191,434.95.

SecretsReporters gathered from the audit that the Ministry of Housing’s Regular Overhead budget for 2020 was ₦15,000,000.00 while the Revised Budget was N11,250,000.00. But, ₦12,706,610.00 was released, resulting to a variance (surplus) of ₦1,456,610.00.

Accountant General Declines Comments

When contacted on why the released amounts consistently surpassed the approved figures, the Delta State Accountant General, Joy Enwa feigned lack of knowledge of the details buried within the audit, hiding under the umbrella of “it is a long time ago”.

She went further to say it is the duty of the Auditor General to respond to such a question. But when our Reporter insisted that the issue has to do with her office, she declined comments.

Experts Describe the Act as Fraud

Reacting to the development, Ojo Adebukola, a Financial Expert and Auditor, who decried the act, said it is inappropriate for any legal agency to spend above the approved budget.

“It’s not appropriate to release funds above the budget, that’s fraud. The budget and finance committee has to be queried. The money has to be refunded. In any organisation, even government establishments, if you prepare a budget, you should not spend more than the budget. Budget serves as a guide”.

He added that “Spending more than the budget is not appropriate”.

On his part, John Ainetor, a legal practitioner, said “Well, I don’t know if there is any technical legal term for it, apart from the obvious fact that it is fraud or false or contrary to the budget”.

However, Barrister Joyce Okiti believes that “The deliberate release of a sum that is way above the actual budget is a creation of surplus in the budget. It is a good developmental strategy because it gives room for the budget to be able to absorb any project that may come up within the budget year. Proper accountability of officials entrusted with the fund is required.

“Due to the level of corruption in our society, one may hastily jump to the conclusion that such surpluses are creating loopholes for looting. But that’s not the ordinary case for surplus budgets.

“If there’s full disclosure of the amount released, it is permissible if the purpose is based on my submission above. But where there is no disclosure to the public as per the actual sum released, then fraud has been committed because it will create a scenario wherein the public believes in one thing, whereas it is another that was done”.

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