By Gift Chapi Odekina
The House of Representatives on Tuesday fumed over the refusal of the DG of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Hon Dakuku Peterside to submit the audited accounts of the Agency to the Auditor General of the Federation since 2014 till date and resolved to place it on a full Status Enquiry to dig into its operations over the years under review.
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts headed by Rep. Oluwole Oke took the decision at the resumed hearing of the “Deliberate and Reckless Refusal By Non Treasury and Partially Funded Agencies” to render their audited accounts from 2014 to 2018.”
Julius Dung, who represented the Auditor General of the Federation at the session confirmed the non-receipt of the accounts.
Last week, the committee had summoned Gbemi Saraki with the permanent secretary of her ministry to explain the continued disregard of the invitation of the committee by the Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime and Safety Administration, Dakuku Peterside.
But the Director General was still absent at the Tuesday session as Gambo Ahmed Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, told the committee that Peterside is outside the country on an international assignment. But the committee rejected the excuse for his absence.
The explanation of the Minister of State for Transport, Senator Gbemi Saraki on the reason for the non submission of the audited accounts of the agency, was unacceptable to the committee.
The committee was surprised when NIMASA claimed not to have a management account and hence could not generate audited accounts for a number of years.
“We cannot submit an audit from when we started. We must get the closing balance as at the last time we submitted the audit., the Executive Director ,Finance and Accounts., Bashir Jamiu told the Committee
“Are you saying you don’t have management account? Oke queried him.
“We don’t have,” he affirmed
The Committee Chair asked if he was saying they do not have the balances to carry on with subsequent years? The ED affirmed that the organusation did not have the balances.
“You have management accounts and you have audited accounts. Are you saying you don’t have management account for 2012 to 2016. It will be very embarrassing for an agency like NIMASA not to have a management account from 2012 to 2018 then what are you doing there?
Thereafter, a member of the committee said: “Speaking for Nigerians and the Niger Delta regarding this agency, if NIMASA does not have a management account, it therefore means they don’t even know their beginning and their end. I therefore move a motion that NIMASA should be placed on status enquiry.
The members of the committee then agreed that the agency be subjected to full status enquiry.
The Chairman of committee, Rep Wole Oke told the Minister of State, Senator Gbemi Saraki that the exercise will expose any inadequacy in NINASA’s books for the benefit of everyone.