House Queries Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty over N3.7bn Paid to Ex-agitators

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By Udora Orizu

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, yesterday quizzed the new interim administration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) led by Col. M. Dixon Dikio (rtd) over the N3.7 billion that was allegedly paid to ex-agitators and contractors.

The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Wole Oke, was peeved that the management of the PAP could not account for the monies due to gross mismanagement.

The committee’s meeting with the officials of the PAP arose from the audit query from the Auditor General of the Federation.

Oke said that over N3.9 billion was reportedly expended by the agency without proper documents to back up the expenditures.

The committee said that the over N3.7 billion the PAP paid to ex-agitators violated the e-payment policy of the federal government because they were paid into a single account instead of the individual beneficiary’s account.

The audit query also accused the office of paying N136 million to two different contractors without proper rendition of accounts of the beneficiaries.

The committee further accused the PAP of approving the sum of N79 million to 11 individual as cash advancement without retirement of the same.

Dikio, in his response, pleaded for more time to prepare himself as he was new to the office.

But the committee frowned at the response, saying that government was a continuum and urged him to take responsibility.

The table later turned to the Director, Finance and Accounts of the PAP, Mr. Ityohume Isaac, who said that the N3.7 billion was paid to camp leaders of the former agitators who in turned paid to those under them.

Isaac added that not all the former agitators were on the Bank Verification Number of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

However, the Committee Chairman ruled that the agency should provide the committee with relevant documents on the expenditures detailing the number of the beneficiaries, amount involved, their addresses and the names of the hotels used, which they claimed to have issued them receipts

Oke also ruled that the details of the beneficiaries of the programme should be published in three different national dailies, adding that the relevant documents should also be subjected to forensic investigation.