INEC, FIRS, DMO, others shun Senate over 2015 audited report

The Central Bank of Nigeria, Department of Petroleum Resources and Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday shunned ongoing investigation into the audited accounts of some government agencies by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the development, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, warned that the Committee will not allow Heads of Agencies to respond to the query through proxy.
Urhoghide said: “For those agencies that are already talking of representatives, please it is not going to be allowed.
“You will go back and tell your principals (to come) because we are going to subordinate you to oaths and anything you tell us, tomorrow if anybody decides to go to court, for people to have proper justification and evidence to show that you came before the National Assembly with what you said.
“So if you are going to answer these queries through proxies, it is unacceptable.
“Tell your heads that they should be here because there are serious consequences that have been earmarked in our financial regulations.
“If you spend money without authorisation and the regulation says you should be removed from office, that is what we are going to tell the President of this country and the Executive must comply.
“So nobody is going to shave your head when you are not there.
“Even if you don’t appear, it only means that you have accepted the guilt and we are going to write about you.”
Other agencies which failed to appear before the Committee are Federal Inland Revenue Services, Head of Service, Debt Management Office, Accountant General of the Federation, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory and National Bureau of Statistics.
Agencies present were Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria Custom Services, Office of Accountant General of the Federation and Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.
The Chairman also said that the Senate is determined to clear all the backlogs of all the Auditor-General’s report on their table since 2015.
Urhoghide said: “This Senate is determined to clear all the backlogs of all the Auditor-General’s reports that we have gotten since 2015.
“We have given ourselves timelines to finish 2015 and move to 2016.
“By the time you clear yourself from 2015 and we give you a certificate of discharge, you will subordinate you to 2016 depending on the query.
“All these considerations we are going to do, taking into consideration all the extant rules, we are going to look into the Public Procurement Act, Fiscal Responsibility Act, Financial Regulations and all other laws that have to do with public spending.”