Emerging details from a recent audit report have proved Nigeria’s ministry of justice had expended a total of N10.4 billion without due process.

In a report monitored on Premium Times NG, an audit report by the Auditor General of the Federation uncovered the said fund reportedly released for judgement debt without following the stipulated rules guiding its expenditure.

Judgment debt refers to a monetary award issued by a court to a party in a suit. In this case, they refer to monetary awards against the Nigerian government.

According to the newspaper, the audit report also revealed how the sum of N32.5 million was spent by the ministry’s officials on foreign travels without approval.


The report was signed by the Auditor-General for the Federation, Anthony Ayine. It is the latest by Mr Ayine’s office.

Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had in October said that while N10 billion was paid in 2017, Nigeria is still owing over N150 billion in judgment debt.

Malami did not speak on whether due process was followed in the payment of the debt but admitted that some of them were fraudulently procured.

When contacted the indictments in the audit report, the AGF’s spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, said: “We will study the report and respond to the issues raised accordingly.”

According to the auditor-general’s report, the committee in charge of managing the disbursement of judgment debt was dissolved in 2013.

The report stated that as at the time the N10.4 billion was disbursed by the ministry in 2017, the committee was yet to be reconstituted.

“Examination of the budget of the Federal Ministry of Justice revealed that the sum of N460.95m was appropriated for the payment of judgment debts for 2016 and N10bn appropriated for 2017, totalling N10.46bn.

“Further examination revealed that the committee saddled with the responsibility of managing the fund was dissolved after the 2013 financial year and is yet to be reconstituted after the 2016 and 2017 appropriations.

“However, the ministry has been disbursing this sum without a committee in place. Lack of control could lead to the loss of public funds.”

He, therefore, recommended that the Solicitor-General of the Federation and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice should immediately constitute the committee as required by law. He also ordered that the N32.5 million spent by the justice ministry’s officials on foreign travels without approval should be recovered from those who spent it.

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“Incurring expenditures without necessary approvals could lead to loss of public funds. The Solicitor-General of the Federation and the permanent secretary is requested to recover the sum of N32.35m and pay to Consolidated Revenue Fund and evidence of recovery forwarded for my confirmation,” Mr Ayine said in the report.

“However, the ministry has been disbursing this sum without a committee in place. Lack of control could lead to the loss of public funds.”

Writing further on the N32,35 million, the auditor-general said that he found out the money was paid to officers between March and September 2017 as estacodes and return air tickets without approvals.

The inability of the ministry to attach evidence of approval from the Head of Service (in the case of the civil servants) and approvals from the President (in case of a minister) was a violation of the provision of the circular HCSF/CSO/HRM/POL.1420/1 dated January 22, 2015, and HCS/PS/SPSO/244/1/26 of July 25 2016, the report stated.

Mr Ayine stated that the expenditure incurred could not be accepted as a legitimate use of public funds.