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Senate gives NECO 24 hours to present receipts for N7.2bn expenses

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts, on Wednesday, directed the National Examination Council (NECO) to present, within 24 hours, store receipts for N7.2billion it paid for examination materials between January and June 2017.

The Committee chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide gave the directive following its consideration of a query raised to that effect by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, in its 2017 report.

The Auditor-General of the Federation, in its report, alleged examination materials, which amounted to N7.2billion were paid for between January and June 2017 without evidence of receipt of the items into the store.

But Registrar of NECO, Professor Godswill Obioma, in his response to the query, when he appeared before the Committee in Abuja, claimed that NECO examination materials are sensitive items that are kept and closely guarded to avoid leakages.

However, when the chairman of the Committee demanded Store Receipt Vouchers (SRV) for the expenses on ‘sensitive materials’ by the examination body for 2017, the officials who appeared in company of the Registrar, claimed they have the receipts but were unable to present them for sighting by the Committee.

The Committee asked the NECO Registrar to provide the receipts to the Committee within 24 hours or be ready to refund the N7.2 billion to the Federal Government’s coffers.

Professor Obioma however enjoined the committee to explain the penalty since he was not the Registrar of NECO in 2017 when the purchases were made.

The query reads: “Examination materials in the sum of N7.2 billion were paid for between January and June 2017 without evidence of receipt of the items into store

“There was no evidence to confirm the receipt of the materials or their usage thereby contravening Financial Regulation 2402 which requires a store keeper to certify that such purchases have been received and taken on store ledger charge in the store ledger.

“Inquiry to verify the true position of items revealed that a committee was in charge of the receipt and distribution of examination materials.

“However, despite the repeated request for documentary evidence in relation to the supply, the Committee failed to produce any document for verification.”

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