Senate investigates Federal High Court over N456m staff salaries

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The Senate has demanded the personnel cash book of the Federal High Court (FHC) over unexplained dif­ference of N456 million in the staff salaries.

The request of the Senate Committee on Public Account, chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, was sequel to the query issued by the Auditor General of the Federation on personnel cashbook balance from January to December 2015.

The query reads: “Person­nel Account cashbook from January to December 2015 was N2.4 billion while the transcript closing balance was N2.9 billion giving unexplained N456 mil­lion in the personnel Account cashbook.“The Chief Registrar has been requested to reconcile the difference and forward the reconciliation for audit verifi­cation.”

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But, the Federal High Court in a written response said, “in the personnel cashbook, judges and staff salaries are usually prepared separately, these fig­ures are summed up under corresponding line-items in the transcript.

“The total sum of closing balance as extracted from per­sonnel cashbook of 2015 is N3 billion.

“The sum picked from Feb­ruary to July were the closing balances only while omitting the judges closing balances.

“These omission amounts to the differences observed by the Auditors.”

The Committee Chairman, who was not satisfied with the presentation of Federal High Court, asked the FHC to submit its personnel cashbook for the committee to look at it.

All efforts by the officials of Federal High Court, led by the Chief Accountant of the Federal High Court, Kazeem Awoyemi, to defend the un­explained N456 million was not acceptable to the law­makers during the public hearing.

The Committee has also queried the Federal High Court for payment of N18 million that was meant for 38 officers into a single account.

It was stated in the query that there were no evi­dence that 37 other officers were actually paid by the Federal High Court.

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