Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The House of Representatives has summoned four ministers to answer questions on why agencies under their supervision should not be sanctioned for violating extant laws on submission of audited accounts to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
The ministers summoned are that of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono; Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo; and Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki.
The House Committee on Public Account is investigating what it described as “deliberate and reckless refusal by non treasury and partially funded agencies to render their audited accounts covering the period from 2014 to 2018”.
The Minister of Agriculture, Nanono, is to appear alongside all agencies in the ministry to explain the delay in constituting boards for the agencies.
The Chairman of the Committee, Oluwole Oke, at the investigative hearing at the weekend decried the refusal of the agencies to abide by the provisions of the law, saying it was not acceptable that for eight years, the Nigeria Institute for International Affairs (NIIA) failed to submit its audited account as required by law.
The House therefore placed the NIIA, Nigeria Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, the Nigeria investment Promotion Council, Radiographers Registration Board, Inter-Country Centre for Oral Health, Root Crop Research Institute, Umudike, Nigeria Natural Medicine Agency and the Lake Chad Research institute under status enquiry.
The committee therefore directed the agencies to reappear before it with their immediate past management teams, annual budgets and audited accounts covering the period under investigation.
Also, Saraki is to appear before the committee with the Permanent Secretary in the ministry over the refusal of the Director General of the Nigeria Maritime and Safety Administration (NIMASA) to explain why it has failed to submit the audited report since 2014 to the auditor general.
The committee chairman noted that NIMASA has refused to make an appearance before the committee, while also frowning upon the failure of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to submit up to date audited accounts to the appropriate quarters.
The agency, according to the Office of the Auditor General, last submitted its audited accounts in 2010, a situation Oke said was very embarrassing.
Oke however warned NIMASA led by a former member of the House, Dakuku Peterside, to stop undermining the House, stating that this would be the last time it would invite the agency to appear, failure which, the committee would be forced to recommend appropriate sanction against them.