The House of Representatives on Monday quizzed the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Alhaji Muhammad Babandede, over the payment of multi-million naira insurance premium on grounded aircrafts in 2014/2015.
The Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Woke Oke, who presided over the investigative hearing into the audit queries issued by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation, demanded evidence for payment of the insurance policy, adding that there was no evidence of appropriation for the two aircraft.
Other members of the House Committee on Public Accounts also queried the rationale behind the payment since the Board members were in doubt over the justification for the payment on aircrafts that are not air-worthy.
In his response, the NIS Comptroller General, who was NIS Board Member, affirmed that the two aircrafts were grounded as at the time he assumed office in May 2016.
Babandede, however, noted that the two aircraft have been handed over to the Nigerian Air Force to prosecute the war against Boko Haram as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the audit query raised by the Auditor General, the NIS Comptroller General was requested to recover the sum of N8.464 million and furnish the recovery evidence for audit verification; explain and provide evidence of N20.179 million paid to NIS officers for the conduct of promotion examination of CONPASS 7 to 16, in contravention of Financial Regulation 631, which provides for electronic payment to individuals.
According to the AGF, no tenable explanation was advanced for his violation of financial regulation.
The Comptroller General was also asked to account for the sum of N98.813,432.04 Expenditure of the 36 State Commands, Zonal Offices and Training Schools in 2015; N2.829 million granted to seven NIS officers who were granted non-personal advances without retiring them after the execution of the projects, hence directed the NIS Comptroller General to “deduct the sum of N2,828,465.84 en-bloc from their salaries, forwarding evidence of recovery for audit verification.
Similarly, the AGF directed the NIS Comptroller General to address the irregularities in the agreement for Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card entered into by the Federal Ministry of Interior and a company on May 25, 1999, and account for the sum of N3.938 billion, which was deducted or set aside from the sharing ratio between 2014 and 2015.
The AGF also queried the variances in the payment of monthly salaries between February to December 2015, including N3.231 million (February), N3.533 million (March), N2.192 million (April), N407.523 million (May), N478.812 million (June), N1.059 billion (July), N77,622.99 (August), N437.772 million (September), N285.326 million (October), N103.375 million (November) and N15.888 million (December).
To this end, Oke directed the NIS Comptroller General to provide the authority and approval for the release of the two aircrafts to Nigerian Air Force.
He also directed the Clerk of the Committee to invite the National Commissioner of National Insurance Commission, leadership of National Insurance Association as well as Management of the Insurance Company and Insurance Broker that insured the grounded aircrafts.