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NOA; over N2b unretired cash advances to staff is unacceptable -Senate.

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Senate Committee on Public Accounts has queried the National Orientation Agency (NOA) over payment of N2 billion as cash advances to some members of staff of the agency and was left unretired.

The Committee has also disagreed with the agency that N129m cash was paid to some members of staff instead of paying the money directly into their accounts.

The panel explained that the actions of NOA was contrary to the provisions of the Federal Government Circular on E-payment Ref No. TRY/A8&B8/2008 OAGF/CAD/026/VOL.11/465 dated 22nd October, 2008 .

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The Senate Committee made the observation while scrutinising the 2016 report of the Auditor General for the Federation at its last sitting on Thursday.

The panel alleged that the agency did not attach the vouchers used in disbursing the N2bn, to the documents submitted to it.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, according to the panel’s proceedings, obtained by our correspondent on Monday, said the agency only presented journals to justify the expenditure which was not acceptable.

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But the Director- General of NOA , Garba Abari, pleaded for more time to enable the agency to look for relevant vouchers to support the expenditure.

Abari said he expressed shock when he saw the details of the disbursements carried out by his predecessors, in the AuGF report.

Officials of the agency who accompanied Abari to the Senate panel could not justify the payment of the additional N129m cash to workers when they could be paid through their bank accounts.

The Committee was not convinced with documents presented by the officials insisting that they did not effectively justify the disbursement of the N129m.

The Committee therefore directed the DG to furnish it with relevant documents used in carrying out the various payments in the next sitting.

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The panel thereafter adjourned the meeting to 27th May, 2021 to enable the NOA to return with necessary documents.

The AuGF query issued to NOA read in part, “The following observations were made:- (a) A sum of N1.9bn being cash advanced to some members of staff of the Agency, was left unretired as at 31st December, 2014.

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