Auditors’ report: Senate threatens NPA and NIMASA with arrest warrants

The Senate threatened to issue arrest warrants against any head of federal government agency who did not appear before it to defend the issues raised against him by the Auditor General of the Federation in his 2016 reports, 2017 and 2018 currently being simultaneously reviewed by red. bedroom.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, said so on Friday during an interview with reporters in his office.

He said the Senate has already ruled that it will not deal with erroneous agency budget proposals when working on the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

He identified the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the Nigerian Ports Authority as the main culprits.

Our correspondent’s investigation revealed that AuGF’s lawsuit against NIMASA borders on alleged financial crimes totaling around 814 million Naira.

They include payment for service not rendered (N 741 904 761.2), irregularities in the award of the contract (N 48 067 500.00) and withdrawal of cash advances (N 25 490 028).

The NPA, on the other hand, has received a series of petitions from the AuGF, consisting of alleged financial breaches of around N10 billion.

They included irregularities in the award, execution and payment of the contract (7,503,344,599 N), unpaid rents (2,504,959,843.77 N) and pending insurance claims (54,354,138, 5 N).

Others were, insurance premium payments on non-existing assets (18,338,056.45 N), irregularities in contract award and payment (N 18,300,000.00), payment made for the unexecuted contract (20,830,638.00 N) and the full payment made for a partial execution of the project (20,830,638.62 N).

The senator said the current accountants who were not on duty when the breaches occurred had no reason to be afraid as the panel would hold the particular occupier who committed the atrocity accountable while also making his verdict.

Urhoghide said, “We have completed the deliberations on the 2015 Auditor General’s report and the Senate has taken action based on our comments to the Public Accounts Committee.

“Concerning the agencies which did not seem to defend the request launched against them by the OAuGF, we have their list and we reported them to the Senate.

“The Senate, in its strength and job description as an institution, will take the necessary steps that will lead to sanctions against the government agencies concerned.

“Agencies cannot be a law for themselves, part of the Senate’s action is to not deal with their appropriation this year.

“The President of the Senate said it on the floor of the Senate, but whatever the final decision, it will be officially announced.

He further stated: “For the 2016, 2017 and 2018 AuGF reports that we are looking at simultaneously, the stray agencies including NPA, NIMASA, among others, we will make sure they show up.

“It could border on the embarrassment of the accountants of these agencies. We are ready to issue arrest warrants against them as I know that the President of the Senate will be willing to sign an arrest warrant in particular against agencies found guilty of the same offense during the consideration of the 2015 report.

“If they want to repeat the same thing when we look at the 2016 report, we will not tolerate it. They cannot spend government money and they would not want to be held accountable.

“We fulfill a constitutional role as contained in article 85 (6 and 7). It is a provision that agencies, including foreign missions, are accountable for the public funds they spend.

“If they still refuse to come, it’s because they have something to hide. They must be dragged to account.

“Agencies misguided in their best interests should appear before PSPC to answer questions that had been raised by the OAuGF.

“The mistake some accountants make is that they pretend that the infractions did not happen during their tenure. Therefore, when the Senate committee invites them, they will not go.

“They forgot that government is a continuum. When you take over the asset, you take over the liability.

“However, we always told them they had nothing to fear. When they appear and the committee’s recommendation is that they reimburse the money, the new accountants will not be asked to pay.

“We personalized it to the people who were there before. Any reimbursement would be the responsibility of the officer who was on the seat at the time the offense was committed.

“We could even ask the current occupants of the seat to call their predecessors and find out what happened.”

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