The management of the Federal Medical Center in Keffi in Nasarawa state paid 229 million naira to “ghost workers” between 2016-2019, according to the report of the Auditor General of the Federation found.
This was one of many offenses listed against the center in the Auditor General’s 2019 report.
According to the annual report, a sum of 229,391,842 N was paid to certain unknown staff members via the GIFMIS platform in 2016.
One of these “ghost” employees received allowances and salaries nine times a day.
The report said none of those names could be found on the hospital’s nominal payroll after an examination.
The report says the action violates Financial Regulations, which state that “a public official who authorizes the payment of public funds to a ghost worker and / or knowingly makes such payment, will be charged with serious misconduct, removed from service. the annex and reported to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). “
However, the center, in its response to the OAuGF’s request, said that the relevant personnel files included in the observation had been submitted for verification.
Hospital management blamed the GIFMIS platform for any irregularities in the payment system, adding that “the hospital does not keep any ghost workers on its payroll and the GIFMIS platform is a system that has been deployed to detect problems of this nature with adequate guarantees. provided by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
Despite FMC Keffi’s explanation, the report asked the chief medical officer to “provide the reasons for recruiting ghost workers and provide evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the names listed above are not ghost workers ”.
The report also recommended that the personnel file, containing appointment letters, file numbers, IPPIS numbers and other relevant authorities, be sent to the National Assembly’s public accounts committees.
He also said the money paid should be recovered from the treasury, while the officer who authorized the payment should be sanctioned.
The threat of ghost workers remains a recurring problem in the federal public service.
President Muhammadu Buhari had announced that the deployment of IPPIS had saved $ 500 million following the removal of several ghost workers from the federal government’s payroll system.
In addition, the report also accused the hospital of embezzling 4.2 billion naira budgeted for staff between 2016, 2017 and 2018.
According to the auditor general, within three years the hospital could not account for the 4.2 billion naira budgeted for non-regular staff.
Commenting on the alleged embezzlement, the Auditor General’s report stated that FMC’s medical director had engaged in a copious transfer of funds earmarked for non-regular allocations from GIFMIS to the remittance of TSA and allegedly spent on capital expenditures and overhead costs that could not be verified by the audit team.
The Auditor General added that the prepayment checks could not be made because no vouchers had been issued for the payment.
The auditor noted that the anomalies could be attributed to the weakness of the internal control system at the medical center, noting that the expenses could have been fictitious.
In answering the question, the FMC management again clarified that GIFMIS and TSA are domiciled at the office of the Accountant General, adding that “FMC Keffi has little or no direct control over transfers from a platform. to the other. The hospital can only pay its revenues to the federal TSA, but has no control over the transfer from the TSA. The same is true for GIFMIS where the center cannot transfer funds from staff to overhead or capital for contract award, as observed by the audit team.
Therefore, the report recommended that the hospital provide evidence of use.
The report also pointed out another payment of 1.3 billion naira made through 195 separate payments. According to the audit report, most of the payments were made on the same day. Payment vouchers were issued, but no call for tenders was launched.
The report further stated that the existence of the companies and their status were not known.
The expenses can be fictitious, said the OAuGF.
In response to the question, management offered the same explanation that the Accountant General’s office should be asked about the payment, and also denounced the use of “fictitious” in the statement.
“We oppose the use of unprofessional language as ‘fictitious’ by the Centre’s office. “
The report also charged the hospital with embezzling 2.8 billion naira from public pockets.
The chief medical director was commissioned to return the money to the treasury or justify the payment.
The report raised 25 questions against the CMF.
FMC Keffi is one of many Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) indicted and questioned by the Auditor General for relentless violation of existing rules, some of which include failure to withdraw personal advances in a fiscal year and the granting of cash advances above the approved limit and payments without supporting documents.
The Auditor General, in the report, said these financial crimes could result in loss of public funds and / or embezzlement of public funds.
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