A Nigerian senator who replaced a deceased lawmaker barely 10 months to the expiration of the Seventh Assembly under David Mark, received full four-year pay for accommodation and furniture, the government’s audit report has shown.
The 2014 audit report said the lawmaker was overpaid by nearly N8 million.
The report released this year, had earlier been submitted to the National Assembly, but its full details recently became public.
It contains shocking revelations of how state resources were squandered on bogus spending, and how officials, in many cases, arbitrarily spent billions of naira without explanations.
“A Senator who was elected to replace a deceased Senator, in the month of September 2014, 10 (ten) months to the expiration of the 7th Senate was found to have been paid full Accommodation and Furniture Allowance (of Four Years),” the report disclosed.
According to the report, N10, 132,000.00 (Ten million, one hundred and thirty-two 229 thousand naira) was paid to the Senator, “instead of N2, 533,000.00 (Two million, five hundred and thirty-three thousand naira) which represented his actual entitlement for one year.”
While there was no mention of the name of the lawmaker in the report, senate records show that Shem Zagbayi, Niger East, was the only lawmaker sworn in in September 2014 – the period referenced by the audit report.
Mr. Zagbayi, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, was elected as replacement for Dahiru Kuta, who died in June 2014.
The report demanded the amount be recovered and paid back to government.
Although the audit report said the overpaid Senator had 10 months to serve, records show Mr. Zagbayi actually served for just seven months, as a court later ruled that his election was fraudulent in the first place.
On March 11, 2015, the Minna, Niger State, division of the Court of Appeal, sacked Mr. Zagbayi about three months to the end of the Seventh Senate.
The court affirmed an earlier ruling of a Tribunal which cited malpractices and non-compliance with relevant laws, and granted victory to the All Progressives Congress candidate, David Umaru.
Mr. Umaru who was sworn in April 1, 2015. He later returned to the eighth senate, and is currently the chairman of the committee on judiciary and human rights.
It was not immediately clear if Mr. Umaru, like Mr. Zagbayi, was paid for four years instead of the barely two months he had to serve in the Seventh Assembly.
Mr. Umaru did not answer calls or reply to messages from PREMIUM TIMES.
There is no evidence, also, that Mr. Zagbayi made any refunds to the government. He too could not be reached for comments.
Mr. Mark, who authorized the humongous pay for Mr. Zagbayi, could not also be reached, for comments.
His spokesperson, Paul Mumeh, did not answer calls placed to him.