The Auditor General of the Federation has queried the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment over alleged disappearance of 55 vehicles.
The query is contained in the 2018 Report of the Auditor General being considered by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts which is chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide.
The report reads in part: “Financial regulations 2005 says: ‘the accounting officer shall be responsible in ensuring that there are effective control in the use of Government vehicles, for this purpose, you will ensure that the following records are maintained: Vehicles control register, exposition, approval for journey register, vehicle log book, vehicle maintenance register.
“Audit observed that 55 vehicles were not presented for physical inspection, all effort to inspect them and confirm their existence proved abortive and the exact location of where these vehicles are located could not be ascertained. We are aware that some officers take these vehicles away when going on transfer or retirement.
“We further observed that the motor vehicle log book has not been updated, making it difficult to track the movement of these vehicles and track their record of maintenance.
“It is also noted that some official vehicles carry private plate numbers in place of Government registered number.
“The above anomalies are because of failure on the part of the management to ensure proper record keeping and due process in the ministry.
“Government vehicles may be diverted for private use and unauthorised journey may be undertaken due to lack of adhernce to the internal control system put in place. No response was received from management at the time of our report.
“Recommendation: The Permanent Secretary should account for the 55 vehicles not presented during audit. He should also be sanctioned in accordance with provisions of Financial Regulation 3129
“Financial regulation 3139 reads: ‘any officer who violates any other provision for which no sanction is specifically recommended, shall be taken to have committed gross misconduct and shall be disciplined accordingly.”
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan, however failed to defend the allegation all his spirited efforts to present some vehicles as part of the alleged missing vehicles was rejected because the vehicles do not have chassis number.
The Committee therefore sustained the query of the Auditor General against the Ministry of Environment.
Senator Urhoghide said: “Ministry of Environment is our own ministry, if somebody with the responsibility of Permanent Secretary did not do well it would be a disservice to the nation for us to rationalise his actions.
“Let us assume that these vehicles have been taken away, it is our common asset. Permanent Secretary should go and produce the vehicles, by the time the President gets it the first time, we want to see really how serious the executive is.
“That is why we have to do things right if we come and treat you with kids gloves because people have been taking vehicles away, do you want it to continue? No.
“If you take our annual budget in all MDAs, purchase of vehicles is enough to create jobs for all the youths, the vehicles are bought every year and they are carted away, it is not you.
“It is misbehaviour. As the Accounting Officer you should make every effort to recover the 55 missing vehicles, the permanent secretary is realquired to make every effort to account for those vehicles not presented for audit.”
Enitan later told reporter that: “I can assure you the vehicles are available for verification and sighting, the missing details I will make sure we put them back and come back to the committee and put everything before them.’’