Reps probe actual fund released by Buhari, Jonathan for constituency projcts

The Ad-hoc Committee set up by the leadership of House of Representatives (reps) to investigate the actual amount released by President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan administration on Wednesday expressed concerns over the poor accounting system adopted by various agencies engaged so far.

Chairman of the reps Ad-hoc Committee, Hon. Francis Uduyok who presided over the investigative hearing, however, harped on the need for all the Accounting Officers of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to submit bank statements and audited accounts from 2009 to 2019 for legislative scrutiny.

Some of the agencies grilled by the reps Committee include: Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe.

While giving account of the activities of NEITI’s acting Executive Secretary, Mrs. Lilian Ekeanyanwo who had earlier noted that the agency does not get cash from any of the Donor Agencies, however, reversed herself saying that World Bank gave cash to conduct the oil and gas industry audit in 2017/2018 when the agency had financial challenges.

She disclosed that the agency has submitted all the audited accounts to the office of Auditor-General for the Federation (oAuGF) up to 2018 adding that the accredited Auditor approved by the oAuGF has been contacted for the 2019 fiscal year auditing, just as she observed that Auditors from the oAuGF visit the agency three times on annual basis.

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In response to the issues bothering on the sums of N351 million and N121 million appropriated for financial audit as captured in the agency’s report, Mrs. Ekeanyanwo explained that the funds were earmarked to conduct industry audit and the consultants engaged during the exercise in line with the template provided by the office of the Budget Office of the Federation.

In response to the question bothering on the reason for non-inclusion of the statement of account in the report submitted to the Ad-hoc Committee, she explained that the agency resolved to close all its accounts with commercial banks as stipulated by the Donor Agencies, but decided to open a different account with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in compliance with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.

While ruling, the reps Ad-hoc Committee requested for submission of all the commercial and CBN bank statements from 2009 till date by next week Thursday.

In a related development, the lawmakers during the investigation into the accounts of Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe State queried the accounting system adopted by the institution, hence mandated the Chief Medical Director to submit relevant documents and bank statements by next Tuesday.

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