By James Emejo in Abuja
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Public Account, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) has ordered the Ministry of Niger Delta to within two weeks, show evidence of engagement of cleaners at a value of N43 million yearly.
He further queried the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Aminu Bisalla over the award of N4 million contract for light bulbs which was executed without proper documentation.
The permanent secretary, whoâ€™s newly posted to the ministry, was also given one month to provide proof of execution of the light bulbs contract.
The committee, however, warned of serious implications of providing forged documents, stressing that documents so far submitted appeared to be contradictory.
The lawmakersâ€™ probe followed a query by the Auditor General for the Federation (AuGF) to the ministry on the subject matter.
Chinda said: â€œThe financial regulations is very clear that no official can take more than 200 thousand. You have to tell us how many times this money was taken.
â€œWe should be looking at who gave the money out and not who received the money. Query should be given to serve as deterrent,â€ the committee said.
The permanent secretary, who pleaded to be given little time to sort things out, added that heâ€™s new in the ministry and beside, when the contract was executed was when new leadership came on board.
The lawmakers charged him to provide the address and phone number of those, who were on ground when the contract was executed to explain to the House what transpired.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Chinda, while ruling on the issue, warned Bisalla not to do things that would put the permanent secretary that would take over from him when he retired or posted out of the ministry in trouble.
The chairman said: â€œWe have observed the excessive use of funds for advances we have consistently frowned at it.
â€œWe are aware that anything above N200,000 should go through contract and we discovered that this provision is being abused.
â€œThere is no clear evidence that these goods were brought to the store and the ministry could not provide answer when it was queried.â€
Continuing, he said: â€œWe will not hesitate to investigate this and the permanent secretary should furnish us with the address of one Nebo, and he should come to us and tell us what happened and if the money was paid to government coffers. If heâ€™s retired, we should get his address and if heâ€™s late, we should get his estate. You, the permanent secretary, should learn to comply with the government circular.
â€œWe are also interested in ensuring that the transactions are genuine. Let us have the names of the officers.â€
Bisalla was however, mandated to appear before the committee on June 27 by 3p.m.