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SPAC: Be ready to take any outcome if you choose to be represented – Mathew Urhogide

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Michael  Shuaib

The Senate Committee on Public Account has admonish heads of Ministries, Department, and Agencies to honour the Committee summon as it scrutinises their audited reports.

Chairman of the Committee and Senator representing Edo South, Mathew Urhogide gave the warning on Tuesday at the public hearing in which the agencies were invited to present the audited reports for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The agencies that were invited are Audited General of the Federation, Accountant General of the Federation, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Comptroller General of Customs, Head of the Service of the Federation, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) and seven others.

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This invitation is as a result of the report by Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine, who has notified the National Assembly that ”160 agencies defaulted in submission of audited accounts for 2016; 265 agencies defaulted in submission of audited accounts for 2017, and that eleven agencies have never submitted any financial statements since inception.

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Ayine recommended that “stringent sanctions, including withholding financial releases and sanction of the chief executive officer should be imposed on defaulting agencies that do not render timely accounts as provided in the constitution, financial regulations and other relevant laws.”

Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine, further stated that “a number of major weaknesses and lapses in the management of public funds and resources were identified across several MDAs during the annual audit.”

Matthew A. Urhoghide, had at a press briefing last November listed 25 defaulting MDAs that had not responded to their inquiries to enable the Senate carry out its oversight functions.

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At the hearing on Tuesday, Senator Urhogide who frowned at the absence of the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari and the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris said his Committee would not allow the heads of the MDAs to be represented by proxy.

He said the Public Account Committee was a creation of the Constitution and there would be no sacred cows.

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