Nigeria’s Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) has commenced the review of audited accounts of ministries, departments and agencies, (MDAs) of the Federal Government.
The Senate Committee warned that it would no longer tolerate a situation where the ministries, departments and agencies, (MDAs) of federal government would continue to shun invitation to appear before it over queries issued them by the Auditor General of the Federation, (AuGF) on the alleged infractions in their audited accounts from 2015.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide who gave the warning during a meeting with some of the heads of the MDAs, particularly slammed the Acting Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esan; Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NIS; Col Hammed Ali (rtd); Central Bank Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele and some others over their refusal to honour invitation of the committee.
Consequently, the chairman ordered the absentee heads of government agencies to appear before it unfailingly this Thursday February 13 at 2pm local time.
The committee had in line with Section 85 of the 1999 constitution, invited heads of 14 federal agencies to appear before it over queries issued them by the AuGF.
However, at the investigative session, only six out of the invited heads of 14 agencies, honoured the invitation which infuriated the committee members.
In expressing their displeasure, the chairman of the committee said: “For those agencies that are already talking of representatives, please it is not going to be allowed.
“You will go back and tell your principals [to come], because we are going to subject you to oaths and anything you tell us, tomorrow if anybody decides to go to court, for people to have proper justification and evidence to show that you came before the National Assembly with what you said.
“So if you are going to answer these queries through proxies, it is unacceptable. Tell your heads that they should be here because there are serious consequences that have been earmarked in our financial regulations.
“If you spend money without authorization and the regulation says you should be removed from office, that is what we are going to tell the president of this country and the executive must comply. So nobody is going to shave anybody’s head in his or her absence.”
He added that it is the duty of the committee was to ensure accountability and transparency in spending public funds.
“As the chairman of this committee, I am not going to subordinate myself to any other interrogation or excuse by any agency of the government. What has to be done has to be done here.”
The other affected agencies are the office of the Head of Service of the Federation; Accountant General of the Federation, AGF; Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR; Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS; Debt Management Office, DMO; Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; National Bureau of Statistics, NBS and Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulation Agency, PPPRA.