By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee, has summoned the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and 24 other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to appear before it over their failure to render audited accounts to Auditor General of the Federation.
The lawmakers also gave heads of 17 Subsidiaries of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) a Seven day ultimatum within which to appear before it over the non-redition of their financial accounts.
The committee reached the resolutions on Friday following the failure of the Agencies’ heads to turn up at the resumed investigative hearing on queries raised against them by the AuGF.
The committee therefore threatened to issue bench warrants against the affected agencies in the event that they failed to honour its summon on its adjourned date.
According to the panel, “they are to appear before the Committee on the investigative hearing on several audit queries raised against them by the Auditor General of the Federation over the years”.
The committee said it had just discovered that while all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government were operating on the Treasury Single Account (TSA), subsidiaries under the NNPC have been operating commercial bank accounts without the knowledge of the Accountant General of the Federation, the practice which it described as “illegal and unlawful.”
The Committee and the NNPC had for sometime disagreed over some unreconciled figures arising from what the former termed “illegal deductions at source by the latter.
The Committee also accused the Corporation of shielding its subsidiaries by not allowing them to appear before the it to answer queries on their financial operations.
The Chief Financial Officer of the NNPC, Umar Isa Ajiya, a couple of weeks ago, had appeared before the committee and submitted that the Corporation was going to speak on behalf of the subsidiaries, a position that was rejected by the Committee, insiting that the subsidiaries were legal entities and must speak on their own.
Last week, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, eventually turned up in person to answer the audit queries, but declared that the Corporation was authorized by law to make deductions at source to fund its operations.
He had apologized saying his delay to appear before the Committee was due to other exigencies.
Other MDAs summoned to cause appearance are: the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Ministry of Interior; Ministry of Works and Housing; Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; Zenith Bank Pls Headquarters; Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria; Ministry of Justice and the Nigeria Immigration Service.
Others include, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission; National Library of Nigeria; Fiscal Responsibility Commission; the Presidential Amnesty Programme; Standard Organization of Nigeria; Industrial Training Fund; National Lottery Trust Fund; West African Examination Council; Nigerian Football federation and the North East Development Commission.