Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The House of Representatives has decided to petition President Muhammad Buhari following the refusal of some agencies of the government to appear before its Committee on Public Account to answer questions over alleged financial irregularities traced to them or clarify some records provided by other agencies.
The committee expressed displeasure with the refusal of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emiefele; Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Managing Director of the Nigeria Port Authority, Hajia Hadiza Usman, as well as the head of Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) to appear before it over sales of federal government landed properties across the country.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Wole Oke, told the Clerk of the Committee to forward a petition to the president through the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Chief of Staff to the president informing him of the refusal of the heads of the agency to honour the invitation of the parliament.
The agencies, along with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund failed to appear before the committee over the alleged sales of some government property.
He said the president should compel the agencies to honour the invitation of the House within seven days.
However, at its hearing yesterday, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the Nigeria Electricity Liabilities Management Company denied selling any government property or being in possession of any proceed from the sale.
The Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria, S.A. Abdulazeez, told the committee that TCN was not involved in the sales of the federal government landed property.
According to him, ‘’When the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was privatised, all assets and liabilities were handed over to the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO), and so we have no presentation to make.”
lso responding to questions, Director General of NELMCO, Adebayo Fagbemi, said not all PHCN assets were transferred to the agency, adding that some of the properties handed over to him were already sold before they were handed over to them.
He said the gazette authorising the transfer also transferred some of the assets to other agencies, including the Nigeria Electricity Management Service Agency, National Power Training Institute of Nigeria and the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).
Fagbemi disclosed that the schedules were transferred to the agency by the gazette, adding that some of the properties listed in the schedules were already sold by the Presidential Implementation Committee, the Federal Capital Territory Authority and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) before they were handed over to the agency merely on paper.
He said those assets already sold should have been expunged from the list of assets handed over to them, adding that the agencies that took charge and sold the properties should be in a better position to explain where the money realised from the sale was kept.