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Published On: Tue, Feb 25th, 2020

Audit Account: Reps threaten to arrest heads of agencies

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By Christiana Ekpa

The House of Representatives on Monday threatened to issue a warrant on government agencies that fail to appear before its Public Account Committee to answer questions on why they failed to submit their audited account to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Oluwole Oke who issued the threat said such agencies have something to hide, stressing that the House was determine to unravel the reason for their refusal.
Oke ordered the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority to appear before the committee on Tuesday or risk arrest.
He issued the threat at the resumed sitting of the Committee, just as the Committee was told that 14 years after its closure, some workers of the Nigeria Mining Corporation have been receiving salaries from government.
Oke also directed that the Minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, the Minister of Water Resources and the Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises should appear before the committee to answer questions relating to agencies under their supervision.
The Minister for Solid Minerals and Steel Development, as well as the Director General of Bureau for Public Enterprises are to appear before the House Committee to explain why the agency that has been closed down since 2006 was still drawing salaries from the public funds.
Assistant General Manager, Finance of the Nigeria Mining Corporation, Dauda Ibrahim Gambo told that House Committee that agency was closed for privatisation and that they were asked to collaborate with BPE for a successful privatization of the place
Similarly, about 24 former workers of the Lagos International Trade Fair who were sacked when the agency was concessioned hug absolved by the parent ministry are still collecting salaries from the organization.
The Committee however placed all River Basin Development Authority on status enquiry, saying the House wants to get that root of the non rendition of audited account to the office of the Auditor General of the Federation by hon treasury funded and partially funded agencies in accordance with the law.
The Anambra IMO River Basin Development Authority, Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, Cross River Basin Development Authority, Sokoto Rima Basin Development Authority, Lake Chad Basin Development Authority, Benin Owens River Basin Development Authority, Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority were all placed under status enquiry by the committee.
Also placed on status enquiry was the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, while the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control had its representative turned back.
A Deputy Director in the agency, Gbenga Yewande had informed the committee that the Director General could not attend the sitting because she was attending an international event at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
Oke was particularly not happy with the office of the Auditor General for failing to issue constant reminder to agencies even when they are aware of default by the such agencies.
Meanwhile, an Executive Director with the NIRSAL Micro Finance Bank Dr. Lawrence Akande who appeared before the committee inform them that even though the bank was established to help drive small scale investment in the country, there is no single kobo from public fund invested in the bank.
He said the only funds the bank was using for its operations was the share of the equity paid by the Bankers committee who own 60 percent of the bank equity.
He said the vision of the bank was to have branches in the 774 local government areas of the country, stressing that at the moment, they have only 53 branches and hope to complete another 60 before the end of the year.

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