The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee, which is investigating capital projects executed and funds repeated every year in the Appropriation Act by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) since 2015, yesterday uncovered a three-year duplication of annual budget figures by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

This was as the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, berated MDAs for failing to turn up for the probe.

The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Abubakar Makki Yalleman, said the agency duplicated its annual capital budgets from 2017 to 2020.

He urged MDAs to provide accurate information which is supported with facts to assist the committee in the discharge of its task.

Yalleman also appealed to those yet to make submission to the ad-hoc committee do so urgently as they would not accept any excuses on plea of ignorance.

Speaking on absence of MDAs at the probe, he said he expected permanent secretaries of government agencies and their directors of procurement not to have turned down their invitation to the inquest.

Yalleman, however, assured them that their absence, notwithstanding, the committee will be thorough and conclusive in its task to get erring agencies to account to the people.

The Director of Finance and Administration of NUC, Sam Onazi, in his presentation, could not offer satisfactory explanation to the lawmakers, as the bulky documents he tendered did not detail the award of contracts from 2017 to date.

The panel, therefore, issued him a seven-day ultimatum to go through its records and resubmit a detailed report to the committee, before the conclusion of its assignment.

Earlier, the House Speaker, Gbajabiamila, while declaring the hearing open, frowned at the absence of key government agencies at the hearing.

Gbajabiamila, who was represented at the hearing by the House Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, warned the agencies concerned to be prepared to open their accounts for scrutiny and accountability or be sanctioned.

He said: “I am concerned by the low turnout of relevant government officials to engage the legislature on this very critical assignment. I would have expected to come across on the floor of this public hearing, a minimum of permanent secretaries and perhaps all the public procurement directors in various agencies and ministries of the government.

‘’But from what I am seeing, except if you (committee) had some problems in terms of communications, I want to believe that there is a kind of laxity from those agencies to really formally engage this Assembly on this very important critical assignment. It is on this note, the I would like to urge the chairman, and also direct on behalf of the leadership of the House of Representatives that you have every mandate of this institution and you have all the instrumentalities of the legislature available to you to enforce on any agency that takes this assignment with laxity or takes it for granted.”

Source: THISDAY LIVE