Reps Summon Minister Over Agency’s Unaudited Accounts
The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu following the failure of the Natural Medicine Development Agency to audit its accounts for nine years.
Others summoned by the lawmakers for the infraction are Permanent Secretary, Mr Bitrus Nabasu; and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr Wole Oke, issued the summons during the ongoing investigative hearing into the refusal by non-treasury and partially-funded agencies to render their audited accounts between 20011 and 2019.
Oke and members of the committee asked the minister, permanent secretary and head of service to appear before them to explain the development.
Available documents showed that in 2016, the NMDA was allocated a total sum of N377,931,365, out of which N255,222,949 was voted for recurrent expenditure while N122,708,417 went for capital expenditure.
In 2018, the agency got a total allocation of N1.105bn, out of which N246,234,918 was for personnel cost, N56,176,596 for overhead cost, N302,411,514 for recurrent expenditure and N802,710,432 for capital expenditure.
According to the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, the NMDA last submitted its account audit report in 2013 leaving 2014 to 2019 outstanding.
Oke stated, while citing various laws alleged breached by the agency, said the offence amounted to gross misconduct.
He ruled that the Director of Finance should “come with his employers – the Minister of Science and Technology and the Permanent Secretary as well as Head of Service of the Federation.”
The lawmaker said, “Let them come and hear the story themselves. You have budgetary allocation but you didn’t render account.”
In a related development, the committee resolved to place a status of enquiry on the finances of the Radiographers Registration Council of Nigeria for failing to render its account to the OAGF between 2015 and 2019.