By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, at the weekend commenced investigation into the utilisation of N1.062 billion Internally Generated Revenue by authorities of Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State without the approval of the National Assembly.
During the exercise, the Committee uncovered a total sum of N110 million NEEDS Assessment fund obtained through Federal Ministry of Education, but allegedly not accounted for by the Institution in its audited account(s).
The Chairman House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Wole Oke disclosed this during an investigative hearing into the queries issued by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation between 2014 and 2016 to the Institution.
According to the lawmakers, total sum of N2.7 billion accrued into the coffer of the Institution from Federal Government during the period under review.
The Committee resolved to investigate the utilisation of various revenues accrued to the Institution including annual federal allocation; intervention fund from Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TetFund), NEEDS Assessment Fund obtained through Federal Ministry of Education; Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); grant from other sources including: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), OICs, Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), among others.
Hon. Oke and members of the Committee also expressed concerns over the presentation of 2015 unsigned audited account in breach of extant financial regulations.He explained that the investigation became necessary to ascertain whether or not all the expenditure are consolidated in the audited accounts subjugated to the OuAGF.
To this end, Hon. Oke who presided over the session directed the Vice Chancellor of Federal University, Bayelsa to come along with the External Auditor engaged by the Institution for cross-examination on the irregularities observed in the audited account(s).
While responding to questions from the Committee, Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Prof. Seth Accra Jaja, who earlier argued that the Bursar was on official assignment to Abuja when the Governing Board approved the audited accounts including the controversial 2015 audited account, however pleaded with the Committee for him to sort out the grey areas.
While responding to issue bothering on the “missing N110 million NEEDS Assessment fund, the Vice Chancellor could not substantiate the utilisation of the fund, hence urged the Committee to give him ample time to address the issue.
Worried by the development, Hon. Oke disclosed that the Committee will be left with no option other than for the Vice Chancellor to refund the unaccounted and nissing funds back into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), if he fails to provide necesary approvals and documentations.
To this end, the Committee issued 7 day ultimatum to him to come with the External Auditor who prepared the audited accounts for further clarifications.