The House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to carry out a comprehensive investigation into how the sum of N343 million spent by the Ministry of Water Resources and for what projects as well as why the Ministry refused to give the vouchers covering the amount to the Auditor General for audit.
This came just as the House expressed doubt over the competence of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Abdulkadir Muazu to handle any public office and demanded that he appear unfailingly before the House Committee on Public Account on Thursday (today) to answer audit queries from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
Chairman of the House Committee on Public Account, Hon. Oluwole Oke who spoke at an investigative hearing into audit queries issued to government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by the Auditor General of the Federation said the failure of the Permanent Secretary to appear before the committee was a clear indication that he was not competent to handle the office give to him.
According to him, “we invited the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture to come before parliament to answer audit queries and he refused to appear and did not even send any representation. This is a clear indication that he is incompetent to handle a public office.
“The Head of Service of the Federation should take note of this. Mr President can only give an opportunity to serve, but he is not going to do the job for you. However, he must cause appearance on Thursday. Otherwise, we will be forced to invoke the relevant laws against him”.
The Public Accounts Committee spent over two hours interrogating the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Comfort Ekaro on the various audit queries against the Ministry and how several allocations for projects under the ministry was spent.
Oke told the Permanent Secretary to furnish the House details of the N343 million whose vouchers were not presented to the Auditor General for audit was spent, whether the projects outlined in the vouchers presented to the Committee were budgeted for and whether they were captured in the procurement plan of the Ministry for 2017.
The Committee Chairman directed the Clark of the Committee to write the Director-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission requesting the names of owners of companies who benefited from the N343 million contract as well as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service requesting information on withholding tax from the companies.
The Committee, however, expressed displeasure that the Ministry made a contractor obtain a bank facility of N137 million as the down payment for an earth dam in Igbuzor in Delta state in 2013 while paying them N75 million in two instalments.
Hon Oke said the action of the Ministry may have destroyed the corporate image of the organization, adding that paying the full mobilisation of N137 million in 2017, two years after the project was supposed to have been completed was not good enough for the country.
The Auditor-General had, in his query said that the contract for the construction of the earth dam in Igbuzor, Delta state was awarded at the cost of over N800 million in December 2013 with a completion period of 18 months, lamenting two years after the award of the contract, only N75 million had been paid to the contractor.
He said finding by his office was indicative of the fact that there was no concrete payment plan for the project and several other projects within the Ministry, leading to delay in execution of such projects.
The Permanent Secretary told the committee that the Ministry had no money to fund the project because it was consistently removed from the budget.
Similarly, the committee frowned at the funding process for the Adada Water project in Enugu state awarded at the cost of N2.578 billion with a completion period of 24 months in 2010.
Even though the Permanent Secretary told the Committee that the project was currently 98 per cent completed, they were not happy that five years after the contract was awarded, only about N488.7 million was paid to the contractor by the government.
She said the poor budgetary allocation was responsible for the poor payment made to the contractor, adding that in most cases money budgeted for the project were not released.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
No NEC Meeting Will Hold On Thursday ― Ajimobi-Led APC Faction
Senator Abiola Ajimobi-led faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday dismissed reports that a meeting of the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) will hold at the Presidential Villa on Thursday… Read Full Story
Edo Poll: INEC Worried Over Conflicting Court Orders, Litigations
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed worry at the spate of litigations, conflicting court orders ahead of the Edo State governorship poll, warning that such was harmful to the smooth conduct of primaries and the September 19 poll at large… Read Full Story
Ghanaian President Apologises Over Demolition Of Nigeria’s High Commission Building
President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana on Tuesday spoke with President Muhammadu Buhari, expressing his sincere apology for the demolition of a building on the premises of Nigerian High Commission in Accra… Read Full Story
APC, PDP Scramble For Yoruba Land
THERE is a gradual buildup to replicating the 2003 scenario that existed in the South-West. It will be recalled that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from May 29, 1999, had mustered all resources towards routing the Alliance for Democracy (AD), the main opposition party from Yoruba land. Leading the PDP forces … Read Full Story
If Igbo Don’t Get Presidency In 2023… —Ezeife
I want to restate my position clearly. Nobody will just dash anybody the presidency. As it is, there is a rotation for north/south. So far, the north has dominated the presidency. But it has come to the south too. The west from the south has produced president. The South-South from the south has produced president… Read Full Story
Alleged Pension Fraud: EFCC Opposes Maina’s Plea For Bail As Ndume Stands As Surety
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday, opposed the application by the former chairman of the Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, for further variation of his bail terms granted him by the Federal High Court, Abuja… Read Full Story
Why It Is Difficult To Get Justice For Rape Victims
The business of getting justice and relief for rape victims is a collaborative one that requires the concerted of medical practitioners, psychologists, law enforcement officers, legal practitioners, social welfare department, media and non-governmental bodies who must be willing to work together on cases to ensure… Read Full Story
LAWMA Highway Sweepers Down Tools Over Unpaid Three Months Salary
The Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) highway sweepers have embarked on strike over the non-payment of their three months salaries… Read Full Story
Reviewing Oil And Gas Industry Content Development Act (Amendment) Bill
On December 18, 2019, the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (Amendment Bill 2020) was read for the second time in the Senate. Leading the debate on the Bill on May 19, during its second reading, sponsor of the bill, Teslim Folarin, explained that it seeks to amend 38 sections of the extant Act while… Read Full Story
Police Rescue 300 Workers Locked Inside Kano Rice Factory
The Nigeria Police force has rescued 300 people they say we’re locked in a rice-processing factory and forced to work throughout a coronavirus lockdown BBC reports… Read Full Story
How To Be A Successful Young Woman
EVERY young woman wants to be a success in her personal and professional lives. But the path to success can be tricky and navigating it requires that you be proactive in several aspects of your life. But with some dedication and by following some key tips, you will pave the way to personal and professional success… Read Full Story