By Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
The House of Representatives has queried the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs over a training programme allegedly held in Dubai, United Arab Emirate in 2014 at the cost N48m.
The House Committee on Public Accounts also queried the ministry over the purchase of smart phones and tablets at the cost of N14 million without valid documents.
The committee said the expenditure was uncovered in the 2014 audit report the Auditor General of the Federation , in which a query was sent to the ministry for explanation on the spent money.
But while responding to the query in the report, the ministry claimed to have spent N48 million for a training programme for 23 members of its staff, though without any evidence that the training took place as claimed.
The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Wole Oke, said from the documents before the Committee: “There is no single receipt for the payments of airfares trip to and from Dubai, hotel accommodation, Visas and what have you.
“We also discovered that the original Company that made the submission for the Dubai trip was not the one the ministry made the payment to.
“As a Parliament, this is not acceptable because it is against the financial regulation in the public service and we want to see all the necessary documents backing up the expenditure failure which the money will be refunded immediately.”
However, the Permanent Secretary said that she was new in the ministry, stressing that the query was also raised by the 8th National Assembly which had been answered.
She was however overruled by the committee who insisted that there was no record to show that the query had been closed.
The committee therefore gave the Permanent Secretary seven days within which to furnish the Committee the reasons why the amount would not be refunded immediately.