House C’ttee Queries Irregular Registrations of NIPOST Subsidiaries, Withdrawals of N10bn

House C’ttee Queries Irregular Registrations of NIPOST Subsidiaries, Withdrawals of N10bn

Juliet Akoje in Abuja

The House of Representatives Committee on Finance yesterday queried the irregularities in the registration of subsidiary companies under the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST).

The Chairman of the committee, Hon. James Abiodun Faleke (APC, Lagos) issued the query when the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) alongside other agencies appeared before the committee for an interactive session on the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditures Framework/FSP.

Faleke, while speaking during the session, noted that documents before the committee showed that two subsidiary companies  under NIPOST were registered under individual names as shareholders instead of the Federal Government, wondering why that was so since NIPOST is a federal government asset.

He added that the registration of the two subsidiary companies namely, NIPOST Property Company Ltd  and NIPOST Logistics were done with individuals as shareholders.

He further raised a concern over the approval and withdrawals of N10 billion for the purpose of the registration of the subsidiary companies.

“Is NIPOST part of your asset? I have a document before me. The registration  of NIPOST Property Development Company Ltd. I saw that the shareholders of these companies are individuals. Okoh Alexander Ayoola, Adeyemi Alexander, Aliyu Halima; these are personal names. Are people allowed to register NIPOST property in their personal names?”

The lawmaker stated: “I also have NIPOST Logistics also registered in personal names. I want to know from you; did you give CAC permission to register Nigerian assets in personal names; some of them were working as civil servants and some of them have retired.”

“Are you also aware that N10 billion was approved and withdrawn to be used for the set-up of these entities and that same N10 billion came in and also went out in the name of NIPOST from an account opened as NIPOST Property; Are you aware of that.”

The Chief Executive Officer of MOFI, Dr Armstrong Takang, while responding admitted that there were irregularities within the system and that he needed the support of the committee to address them.

Takang said that “The question you raised is precisely why this committee needs to partner with us in addressing irregularities in our system. That is one example, there are many cases. The simple answer is simply no. For a federal government entities, the shareholders must be registered under MOFI.”

“This was recently brought to my attention and we are on it. We have sent a letter to CAC through Federal Ministry of Finance that they should not register any shareholder in  government entity other than MOFI. That is the only way in the eyes of the law that government can claim such property. We did also indicate in that letter that whenever anyone wants to register a commercial entity for the FG, they ought to request for a letter of no objections from MOFI to ensure that the registration process does not in any way undermine what the law states as far as ownership of government interest is. Clearly, that is what that is.”

Takang while addressing the issue of N10 billion reportedly approved and withdrawn for processing the NIPOST subsidiary companies, said the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) would be in the best position to answer that.

He said:  “I will defer that question to BPE because BPE supervised the process for unbundling of NIPOST to those two entities which is Logistics Company and Property Development Company.”

Faleke during his remarks earlier said that the federal government must not accept laxity on the part of any agency or representative acting on its behalf in signing deals that affects the country.

And that the interactive session with the Agencies and stakeholders on government finances was to ensure the passage of the MTEF/FSP before the presentation of the 2024 annual budget.

“The MTEF is the very basis of the annual budget which is itself the backbone of the implementation of the Federal Government’s plans and policies. As the representatives of the Nigerian people, a position which we occupy in trust for them, we owe Nigerians the onerous responsibility of delivering the democratic dividends to the door steps of our constituents in line with our campaign promises.”

“We can only achieve them through the powers bestowed on us by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Amended) i.e. oversight, representation and law making. That is the gumption of the oath we took during inauguration of the 10th House of Representatives. As this is the first MTEF/FSP presented by the Administration of His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and received by this 10th Assembly, this interactive session is to familiarize ourselves, we the House Committee on Finance and all the various agencies who have significant inputs in the MTEF and the national budget.”

He further said that the sessions are expected to be held at least quarterly so that projections agreed upon are monitored and oversight reports laid before the House and Nigerians on the progress of the budget and emphasised that, revenue is crucial on the outcomes of the National budget.

“Various factors that have caused shortfalls in expected revenues as well as charges to Government revenues from commitments by agencies of Government. The Committee will not accept such laxity on the part of MDAs in not negotiating the best for the Country. The $11 billion P&ID fiasco is still fresh in our minds where the whole Country was almost held hostage to a fraudulent agreement.”

“Another agreement signed on behalf of the Government by NBET and Azura Power has committed payments of over $30 million per month. This agreement is dollar denominated and applicable even now in times of acute foreign exchange shortages. The Committee is committed to ensure value for money is attained in all Government agreements.”

Furthermore he added that “Our revenues have been reducing over the years due to decreases in oil revenues which used to be our major earner. The Committee has vowed to get to bottom of these oil shortfalls. The NNPC, our oil asset managers, give oil theft as the main cause; however how are our marginal field operators performing vis a vis the various oil fields potentials?”

However, the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, who was present at the session said that the federal government was doing everything possible to block revenue leakages and shore up the revenue of the government to meet its needs.

Related Articles