By Christiana Ekpa
The House of the Representatives committee on Public Account yesterday blew hot over inability and failure of the Management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, (NRC) to defend the N1.2 billion allegedly missing from the coffers of the Corporation.
The NRC management appeared before the Hon Wole Oke led House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on Tuesday based on an Audit query raised by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation between the 2013 and 2014 financial years.
Consequently the Committee stepped down the presentations of the duo of Mrs O Osunmade and Alhaji A Niyi who represented the Corporation at the sitting for “misrepresentation of facts before the Parliament”.
According to the Chairman of the Committee, “ these documents before this honourable Committee cannot stand the text of time.
“What these officials are telling this Committee are different entirely form what is contained in the documents the Corporation submitted to us.
“We will have to step down their matter for misrepresentation of facts, consequently, a sub committee will be set up to look into the financial books and the activities of the Corporation for accountability.
“Also the Secretariat should write officially to the Minister of Finance and the governor of the Central of Nigeria, CBN, to provide the Committee the detailed financial accounts of the Corporation in the period under review to guide the Committee in the course of its investigation of the missing money”.
The Committee frowned at the request of the Corporation that it should be allowed to go back to study books and to come back for more details, saying that was not acceptable.
“Most of the pages of the audited accounts here before the Parliament were not signed, it shows that the report was not approved by the management of the Corporation”.
This came just as the Committee also grilled the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof Suleiman Abdulkareem over audit queries against the Institution in the years under review with a strict warning to provide convincing reasons while the Institution would not refund over N12n advanced payments made to individuals between 2013 and 2014 but now making retirement five years after.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon Oke dismissed the claims of the Vice Chancellor that he was not in the office when incident happened, describing it as untenable since governance was a continuous one.
According to him, “all the retirements made in your submission are questionable, after thought and unacceptable to us, you collected money in 2013 and you are just making the retirements now, these are make up receipts, this is grossly against financial regulations.
“Go and look for those concerned and do the needful or the Institution be ready to refund the money to the Federal government immediately”.
The Vice Chancellor however pleaded with the Committee to give him more time to see to resolve the matter with an assurance that such illegal practice would not be allowed under his watch during his tenure.