Unaudited account: Reps decry NIMASA DG’s absence before House, reject Minister’s defence

•Reject Minister's defence •Place agency on full status enquiry

The House of Representatives on Tuesday expressed displeasure over the continued absence of the Director-General, (DG) of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Hon. Dakuku Peterside before the Parliament over non-submission of the audited accounts of the agency to the Auditor General of the Federation from 2014 till date.

Consequently, the House Committee on Public Accounts currently investigating over 300 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government over their refusal to submit their audited accounts to the Auditor General of the Federation placed NIMASA on full Status Enquiry to ascertain its financial status as well dig into its operations during the year under review.

At the resumed hearing of the sitting on Tuesday, Mr Julus Dung, who represented the Auditor General of the Federation at the session confirmed the non-receipt of the Audited accounts of the Agency for the years under review

The Committee had last summoned Senator Gbemi Saraki, Minister of State for Transportation, with the permanent secretary of her ministry to explain the continued disregard of the invitation of the committee by the Director-General NIMASA.

But the Director-General was still absent at the Tuesday session as Gambo Ahmed Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services told the committee that Peterside was outside the country on an international assignment.

However, the committee rejected the excuse for his absence, describing it as unacceptable and disregard to the Parliament.

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The explanation of the Minister of State for Transport, Senator Gbemi Saraki on the reason for the non-submission of the audited accounts of the agency, was also turned down.

The committee was surprised when NIMASA claimed not to have a management account and hence could not generate audited accounts for a number of years.

“We cannot submit an audit from when we started. We must get the closing balance as at the last time we submitted the audit., the Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, Bashir Jamiu told the Committee.

“Are you saying you don’t have management account? Oke queried him.

“We don’t have,” he affirmed.

The Committee Chairman asked if he was saying they do not have the balances to carry on with subsequent years?

The ED again affirmed that the organisation did not have the balances.

According to Oke, “you have management accounts and you have audited accounts. Are you saying you don’t have management account for 2012 to 2016? It will be very embarrassing for an agency like NIMASA not to have a management account from 2012 to 2018 then what are you doing there?

Thereafter, a member of the committee said: “Speaking for Nigerians and the Niger Delta regarding this agency, if NIMASA does not have a management account, it, therefore, means they don’t even know their beginning and their end. I, therefore, move a motion that NIMASA should be placed on status enquiry.

The members of the committee then agreed that the agency is subjected to full status enquiry.

The Chairman of the committee, Rep Wole Oke told the Minister of State, Senator Gbemi Saraki that the exercise would expose any inadequacy in NIMASA’s books for the benefit of everyone.

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