By Patrick Andrew
The Senate Committee on Public Account has given issued the management of the Federal Road Management Agency (FERMA) seven-day ultimatum to appear before it or its Managing Director, Mr. Gabriel Amuchi risked legislative sanctions.
The committee, which was to hold a public hearing yesterday, frowned at the attitude of the FERMA management that did not turn up for the hearing, which the committee said was meant to oversight the financial performance and mechanism of the federal agency.
However, the committee claimed that the management neither responded to the specific areas of demanded for clarifications nor did the managing director deemed it fit to honour an invitation to attend the public hearing.
Instead, Mr. Amuchi opted to send the Director of Finance and Account, Mr Taiwo Oladipo, who was however not allowed to speak to the committee but was directed to inform the management that the committee would have no option but to impose legislative sanctions on both the management and the managing director for disregarding the summons of the senate.
Accordingly, the committee, headed by Senator Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North), gave the FERMA boss and his management team uptil Tuesday next week to respond to their demands failing which the committee threatens to write a report and recommend strong punitive sanctions against FERMA to the senate in plenary.
Senator Lawan regretted that despite repeated efforts to get management of the FERMA to respond to simple oversight functions by availing the committee its financial operational mechanism, which they had earlier found weak and far from the federal government financial standard, the FERMA boss chose to ignore them.
He said that the committee had on April 25th written to the management demanding explanation on 14 specific items including expenditure profile, contracts, records of sales of machinery, records of available equipment as well as internally generated revenue, banks records and several other financial transactions in accordance with their oversight functions, the FERMA management failed to respond to the letter.
The management also declined to respond to the second letter dated April 29th which had May 2 deadline for submission of responses, adding that the committee only received a belated and unsatisfactory response on May 12, ten days after the deadline expired.
Taiwo Oladipo, who represented the managing director, assured that the FERMA management would respond to the committee’s demands but declined to speak to the press.