Unaudited accounts: Reps threaten arrest of Heads of MDAs

The House of Representatives on Monday threatened to issue a warrant against Heads of the government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs that fail to appear before its Public Account Committee to answer questions on why they failed to submit their audited account to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation from 2014 till date

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon Oluwole Oke who issued the threat at resumed hearing on investigation of government MDAs over their refusal to remit their audited accounts to the Auditor of the Federation said such agencies have something to hide which must be exposed by the Parliament.

Hon Oke who revealed that the Committee was currently investigating over 300 MDAs insisted that all the affected Heads of the MDAs must appear physically and not by proxy to render their stewardship to Nigerians as the House was determined to unravel the reason for their refusal to obey the law of the land

Specifically, Oke ordered the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority to appear before the committee on Tuesday or risk arrest.

This came just as the Committee was told that 14 years after its privatization, some workers of the Nigeria Mining Corporation have been receiving salaries from government.

Oke also directed that the Minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, the Minister of Water Resources and the Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises should cause an appearance before the committee to answer questions relating to agencies under their supervision.

The Minister for Solid Minerals and Steel Development as well as the Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises are to appear before the House Committee to explain why the agency that has been closed down since 2006 was still drawing salaries from the public funds.

Assistant General Manager, Finance of the Nigeria Mining Corporation, Dauda Ibrahim Gambo told that House Committee that agency was closed for privatisation and that they were asked to collaborate with BPE for a successful privatization of the place

In a related development, about 24 former workers of the Lagos International Trade Fair who were sacked when the agency was concessioned hug absolved by the parent ministry were still collecting salaries from the Agency.

The Committee however placed all River Basin Development Authorities on status enquiry, saying the House wanted to get to the root of the non rendition of audited accounts to the office of the Auditor General of the Federation by non- treasury funded and partially funded agencies in accordance with the law.

The Anambra IMO River Basin Development Authority, Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, Cross River Basin Development Authority, Sokoto Rima Basin Development Authority, Lake Chad Basin Development Authority, Benin Owens River Basin Development Authority, Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority were all placed under status enquiry by the committee.

Also placed on status enquiry was the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, while the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control had its representative turned back.

A Deputy Director in the agency, Gbenga Yewande had informed the committee that the Director General could not attend the sitting because she was attending an international event at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.

Oke was particularly not happy with the office of the Auditor General for failing to issue constant reminder to agencies even when they are aware of default by the such agencies.

Meanwhile, an Executive Director with the NIRSAL Micro Finance Bank Dr. Lawrence Akande who appeared before the committee inform them that even though the bank was established to help drive small scale investment in the country, there is no single kobo from public fund invested in the bank.

He said the only funds the bank was using for its operations was the share of the equity paid by the Bankers committee who own 60 percent of the bank equity.

He said the vision of the bank was to have branches in the 774 local government areas of the country, stressing that at the moment, they have only 53 branches and hope to complete another 60 before the end of the year.

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