House C’tee Mandates Customs Boss to Appear or Risk Arrest

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  • Orders FMC Katsina to refund N2.7m to Consolidated Account

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives has mandated the Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), to appear before it by November 8, 2016 to respond to issues raised in the NCS finances by a report of the Auditor General of the Federation.

The report had raised queries on certain sub heads in the NCS accounts which require explanations by the Customs boss.

The Chairman of PAC, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, told THISDAY yesterday that the committee would be forced to invoke its constitutional powers to make Ali appear if he does not honour the invitation.

Ali, last Thursday, had sent an Assistant Comptroller General, Mr. Idris Suleiman, to represent him at the committee meeting, even though the committee had insisted it would only take the Chief Executives of parastatals and agencies of governments.

“Yes, we allowed the adjournment, and the issue was that the people he sent could not take a date on his behalf. So we told them to pick a date between now and November 8, and confirm to the Clerk of the committee. If they do not do so, we would proceed without him, or we would provoke the constitutional provisions,” Chinda said.

The committee, during the interactive session with the agency was miffed at Ali’s decision to send a representative, threatening to conduct and conclude its investigations without recourse to him.
In another development, PAC has ordered the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Katsina to refund N2.76 million to the Consolidated Revenue Account.

The money, which was part of the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the centre, was spent by the management in contravention of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, a discovery which was made by the 2010-2011 audited reports of the Auditor General of the Federation.

The committee members declined to entertain the excuses tendered by the Chief Medical Director of the Center, Dr. Umar Farouk, that the money was used to pay energy bills and purchase diesel to power equipments.

“We know that it is mandatory to remit 25 per cent of our earnings into the Consolidated Revenue Account as stipulated by the Act,” he admitted.
Ruling on the matter, PAC Chairman, Chinda, directed that the money be returned to the CRA within three days.

He also directed Farouk to return on November 8, 2016 with vouchers of the payment.