October 2, 2022

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Senate threatens to arrest NPA, NIMASA bosses over unexplained expenditure

Senate rejects N6trn tax, import duties waivers in 2023 proposed budget

The Senate has threatened to arrest the Mlanaging Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko; and the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, over failure to explain N10 billion and N814 million expenses in the agencies.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, made this known while speaking with newsmen in Abuja.

He expressed dissatisfaction with failure of both NPA boss and NIMASA DG to appear before the committee to give explanation on the queries raised against them by the Office of Auditor-General of the Federation.

Although Urhoghide did not state categorical the details of the Office of Auditor General of the Federation, facts from the report of Auditor General revealed that the managing director of  NPA is expected to give explanation on the N10 billion expenses while the NIMASA director-general is expected to give explanation on N814 million.

“For the 2016, 2017 and 2018 AuGF reports that we are considering concurrently now, the erring agencies, including the NPA, NIMASA, among others, we are going to make sure that they appear.

“It might border on embarrassing the accounting officers of those agencies. We are ready to issue warrants of arrest against them because I know the Senate President will be well disposed to signing a warrant of arrest, particularly against the agencies found guilty of same offence when we were considering the 2015 report.

“They cannot be spending government money and they would not want to account for it.

“We are carrying out a constitutional role as contained in Section 85 (6&7). It is a provision that the agencies, including foreign missions, must account for the public funds that they spend by the provision of the constitution.

“If they still refuse to come, it means that they have something to hide. They must be dragged out to come and give account.”

The details of NPA queries are Irregularities in the award, execution and payment for contract – ₦7,503,344,599, Unpaid rent – ₦2,504,959,843.77, Outstanding insurance claims – ₦54,354,138.57;

Payments of insurance premium on non-existing assets – ₦18,338,056.45, Irregularities in the award and payment of contract – ₦18,300,000, Payment made for contract not executed – ₦20,830,638.00, Full payment made for partial execution of project – ₦20,830,638.62.

The details of NIMASA queries are payment of N741.9 million for services not rendered, Irregularities in Contract Award- N48 million, Retirement of Cash Advances – N25 million and non – submission of Audited report.

Speaking on the 2015 report which was considered by Senate, Uroghide said , “We have concluded deliberations on the 2015 report of the Auditor General’s report and Senate had taken actions on the submissions that we made at the Public Accounts Committee

“Concerning the agencies that did not appear to defend the query issued against them by the OAuGF, we have their list and we have 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 affected agencies of government.

“The agencies cannot be a law to themselves.