The House of Representatives has summoned the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; and Director-General of Bureau of Public Procurement, Mamman Ahmadu, to appear before it and explain why the Nigeria Customs Service has not audited its account in seven years.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr Wole Oke, issued the summons in Abuja on Monday, when the leadership of the NCS appeared before the panel.
The panel is investigating deliberate refusal by non-treasury funded Ministries, Departments and Agencies to render accounts between 2014 and 2018 to the Auditor-General of the Federation.
Oke ordered Customs to furnish the committee with the correspondence between it and the BPP on the engagement of auditors, in order to locate and identify the issues with the accounts.
The lawmaker asked why an agency like the Customs could be having difficulty in auditing its accounts and presenting reports on them.
Oke said, “I recall that you told the committee that you have yet to submit your account from 2013 till date but the wrongdoer has come out to say ‘sorry.’ But the painful aspect of it is that we are all relying on you; you are the pillar base on which the public finance is undertaken.
“If you, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Federal Inland Revenue Service are not working, then where are we going to get money?
“The funds we are sharing among the three tiers of government are mostly generated from you. So, if you do not have accounts, then how can we do that? The law also made provision that in case you want to procure in an emergency situation, go and procure, and then come back and report to us.”
The lawmaker stated that BPP, despite being the regulator, could act in order all the time.
“We must find out the mischief, the reasons of frustrating Customs. I have read the letter. The constitution is the supreme document. So we need to correct them,” Oke stated.
The committee, therefore, directed the AcGF and the DG of BPP to appear before it.
Meanwhile, the committee also placed status enquiry on the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board for failure to submit its audited account to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
The committee particularly frowned at the late submission of the 2014 audited accounts of JAMB to the auditor-general, which was done after two years.
Oke said JAMB ran afoul of the law and that the status enquiry would enable the panel to investigate and expose any irregularities in the board’s accounts.
The lawmakers discovered that the audited account for 2014, which was submitted in 2016 under the leadership of Prof Dibu Ojerinde, was signed by the new registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, which they said was not supposed to be so.
Oke said, “We will place JAMB on status enquiry. They should furnish this House in writing why their accounts were submitted late.
“Why should the current registrar sign for the outgoing registrar? They should defend that and they should furnish us with the procurement records of the external auditor.”
In a related development, the committee also placed the Tertiary Education Fund and the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency on status enquiry over alleged similar infractions.
However, the Executive Secretary of TETFUND, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, argued that the fund had an up-to-date record.