The Director-General of the National Centre for Women Development, Ms. Onyeka Onwenu, is now in the eye of the storm, as a Federal Government audit query declares close to N300 million missing from the accounts of the Centre.
Onwenu, a musician, broadcaster and actress was listed, along with other officials, including Abdulmalik Dawuda, Dr. Abazu Chika, Felix Etim Okokon, Henry Ajayi and Sadeeq Omar, as paying officers in the payments that attracted the audit queries.
The Federal Government, according to the query obtained by The Point, has ordered the recovery of N226.7 million from the Women Centre, just as the centre has also been asked to explain, tender for audit scrutiny or recover the transfer of N102,416,300 to a commercial bank account without due process.
The Point exclusively gathered that the Federal Government, through the office of the Auditor General of the Federation, had discovered the huge sum of money during a recent visit by a team of auditors from the Programmes and Performance Audit Department. The audit period covered September 2012 to December 2014.
In a letter dated 19th August 2015, signed by the Director (P&PAD), Ajao. A.O, for the Auditor General of the Federation, and addressed to the DG of the NCWD, the team discovered that the contract for the NCWD clinic/cancer screening centre was awarded to M/S Tora-Bora at the sum of N49,853,077 and the sum of N24,926,088. 35 had been expended according to payment profile.
But physical audit inspection reportedly revealed that the job had not been executed and, contrary to financial regulations and other extant rules, payments were made to the contractor for work not done.
Consequently, the Auditor- General asked Onwenu to explain the rationale behind the payment, recover and refund the money just as the contractor was referred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution and blacklisting, in line with Financial Regulations (FR) 3104 (iii), which states that a public officer who fraudulently pays money to a contractor for a job not executed shall be required to refund in full the amount wrongly paid and shall be removed from that schedule and the matter referred to the EFCC.
Similarly, the auditing team discovered the payment of N30, 319,781.50 instead of N26, 365,027.45 for the rehabilitation and renovation of the Gambo Sawaba block of the NCWD.