The Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) has alleged that some officials of the Federal Ministry of Labour forged signatures of some participants of a Zonal Skill Acquisition it organised, in order to justify the N208m it spent on the programme.
The programme, according to documents submitted to SPAC, took place at all the six geopolitical zones of the Federation in 2021 with each zone collecting N35m except the South East which got N32m.
The document added that the amount spent to fund the programme was drawn from Service Wide Vote (SWV) which has become subject of investigation by the Senate Public Accounts Panel.
The Ministry collected N2.3bn from the SWV between 2017 and 2021.The sum of N1.146bn was meant for Capital expenditure while N1.162bn was for recurrent.
The Ministry, according to Senate Panel, failed to subject the expenditure to the Auditor General for the Federation’s scrutiny.
The Senate Committee while scritinising the list of participants submitted by the Ministry at its last sitting, observed that a few persons signed for participants to enable them to collect their stipends in the six geopolitical zones.
Officials of the Ministry, during the session, did not make available, the phone numbers of participants of the skill acquisition programme.
The Chairman of SPAC wondered why the officials paid millions of naira in cash for the programme instead of doing bank transfers.
He observed that the signatures of many participants appeared forged while some wrote their names as their signatures.
The Committee members also insisted that the Ministry should have make use of electronic transfer to pay the participants of training programme
The Chairman of the Senate panel, Senator Mathew Urhoghide said, “The Signatures can’t stand forensic test if we subject to the forensic test.”
“The money ought to have been paid straight into the accounts , you see one person signing for many people. There is a clear violation of E-payment,” he added.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ms Kachollom S. Dajua and officials from the Ministry according to the Senate panel, did not give a convincing explanation to the Committee.
They argued that due process was followed in paying the participants at the zonal Skill Acquisition Training.