By Gift Chapi Odekina
The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee, has set up a sub-committee to verify information provided by the Federal Ministry of Finance in response to audit queries regarding a certain N161.988 million expenditure on contract awards and cash advances for staff sporting events between 2015 and 2016 financial years respectively.
The committee has also directed the Ministry to produce all officers who got the cash advances without proper retirement receipts to appear before it and explain their failure to follow the rules.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Okuwole Oke, gave the ruling following appearances and explanations by the management staff of the ministry, led by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Mahmoud Dutse.
In the queries read out by officers from the Auditor-General’s office, the sum of N2,768,769 worth of contract was awarded without appropriate quotations from the contractor, even though the contractor got the certificate of no objection to carry it out.
Also, the sum of N16,858,800 in cash advancement was said to have been to staff in 2016, but was not retired and the Perm-Sec was required to explain with evidence of retirement to the Auditor general’s office.
On page 55, of the Ministry’s submission, a payment of N12.21 million was seen as another cash advance with the panel asking who it was made to and why such a sum would be paid to one person?
Deputy Director Account in the Ministry, Mrs. Roseline Kolade, said the money was given to one Mr. Oyebamiji Taiwo for allowances to the staff who participated in a sporting event in Imo state in 2015.
Another query relates to N128.7m allegedly spent on newspaper advertorial for the publication of FAAC disbursements to the three tiers of government for a particular month.
Another N18.3 million was said to have been spent on vehicle maintenance by a civil servant, Mr. Baweyi John, from his personal funds in 2016, whereas only about N6.4m could be verified as spent on the vehicle while the rest of the money could not be accounted for.