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Senate probes MDAs’ N1.7trn service votes

•Orders Accountant-General to provide disbursement records

By Nathaniel Zacchaeus
The Senate Public Account Committee has commenced investigations into how federal government agencies utilised the over N1.7trn Service Wide Votes spent by federal agencies between 2017 and 2021.

The amount is outside of their approved annual budgets.

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The Chairman of the Senate Public Account Committee, Senator Matthew Urhogbide, made this known during the meeting between his panel and heads of the federal agencies that benefitted from the disbursement.

He insisted that all the affected heads of the MDAs must give explanations on how they spent the fund.

The Senator added that Service Wide Votes were disbursed to the MDAs to take care of the shortfall in their capital and overhead budgets.

A Service Wide Vote which is also known as the Consolidated Revenue Fund Charge is more or less the country’s contingency fund in the annual budget.

It is a huge sum of money that is kept for unforeseen expenditures.

The recurrent expenditure part of the fund is what is referred to as the SWV, while the capital part of it is called Capital Supplementation.

The SWV is domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance.

The Chairman also ordered the Acting Accountant General of the Federation, Okolieaboh Sylva, who appeared before the Committee, to submit details of the disbursement of Service Wide Votes as quickly as possible.

Urhoghide said, “We want you to submit details of disbursement of Service Wide Votes. Let us have it as quickly as possible, please we want speed.

“The other one that concerns you is the disbursement of Service Wide Votes from 2017-2021. You have not submitted the 2021 disbursement. Let us have that of 2022 as quickly as possible.

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“The reason is that we have 797 agencies to deal with the letters. We have decided to put them on hold until we get your report for 2021 so that we don’t start writing fresh letters on 2021 again as soon as possible.

“We need to input it into our report. Let us be able to know that you have an exercise level of cooperation with us. Give us hard copies for our members to study.

“We have to you first before any other agency, you will have to appear the first week of our resumption.”

The Senator said the agencies needed to explain how the Service Wide Votes collected have been spent.

He added that the Committee would need to know who authorized the fund from Service Wide Votes.

He said, “Who applied for it? The authority to incur the expenditure and the supporting documents. This is the first time the Senate is making inquisition to Service Wide Votes.”

Urhoghide said his committee had made several attempts in the past years to ensure that heads of ministries, departments, and agencies give accounts of what they got from the SWV but all efforts have been futile.

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