AT the expiration of the seven day Ultimatum given to them by the Senate to submit their audited accounts, eighteen out of the twenty five agencies of government have neither presented them nor written to explain the rationale for the non submission. Angry reactions trail FG’s stance on Onyema(Opens in a new browser tab) Against this backdrop the yesterday issued another strong warning to these agencies of government to make available to it the reports in the overall interest of the country, or would be brought to Public Arena.
In a statement signed Thursday by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo South once again read a riot act to Ministries, Departments, Agencies; MDA that have failed to disclose their financial transactions as stipulated by the Constitution. According to Urhoghide, agencies like the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS and the Niger-Delta Development Commission(NDDC) failed to honour the seven day Ultimatum given to them to forward to the Committee, their audited accounts.
He listed other defaulting agencies to include: the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Fedral Inland Revenue Services (FIRS),Federal Capital Territory Administration, Others are National Agency for Science and Engineering and Infrastructure (NASENI),Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency(FERMA),National Space Research and Development Agency, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
(NIMASA), Petroleum Equalization Fund,Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Presidential Amnesty Programmé, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company,(NPDC). Others are Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Nigerian Railway Corporation, and National Primary Healthcare Development Agency. Urhoghide said, “Recall that on 20th November, 2019, the Senate Pubkic Accounts Committee called a press conference to draw the attention of some agencies of government numbering 25 about their failure to submit relevant documents on their income and expenditure for its oversight functions.
The agencies were given 7 days to send their responses to the Committee. ” Despite the lapse of time, some agencies have refused to respond to the Committee. The Committee in carrying out its oversight functions will not relent in ensuring that the agencies are called to account for their stewardship in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, Senate Standing Orders and extant Acts. ” It is necessary for these agencies to note that they must comply with the directive of the Committee in the overall public interest.”
Recall that Senator Urhoghide had said last week that the committee through its oversight functions has the mandate of vetting the financial transactions of over 600 agencies of government . Uroghide said that all the various government agencies including the ones fighting corruption, apparently referring to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC) have refused to come forward with their audited accounts despite several letters to that effect to them.
According to him, many of the agencies have not audited their accounts in the last twenty years; pointing out that his panel was determined to bring every one of them from the Presidency to the smallest government agency to the public arena on issues of transparency, given the committees effort to ensure accountability in government revenue.
Urhoghide had said, “In order to ensure accountability and transparency in the management of public funds and guarantee, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources. “The Senate Public Accounts Committee issued correspondences to relevant Institutions of government seeking their responses to enable the committee carry out special oversight functions in line with Sections 85, 88 & 89 of the Constitution of the .Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended .
“The correspondence is also in line with Order 97(5) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended. “In the light of this, all the defaulting Agencies are by this notice, given the last opportunity to make submissions before their invitation to the scheduled public hearings. Senate threatens AG over audit reports of State House, EFCC, FIRS, others(Opens in a new browser tab) “In view of the fact that some Agencies have defaulted in their submission deadline. “Notice is hereby issued to defaulting MDAs, other government organisations to make submissions within 7 days on their responses to issues raised by the committee regarding their income and expenditure operations from 2017 to 2019.”
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