President urged to hold heads of agencies accountable
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Account has summoned the Minister of Industry, Trade and investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, over alleged non-tendering of financial accounts by the ministry from 2014 to 2019.
Also to appear before the Wole Oke-led panel this Friday is the management of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON). The summonses were sequel to the adoption of a motion by Fredrick Agbedi (PDP: Bayelsa) at an investigative hearing yesterday in Abuja.
Oke (PDP: Osun) said SON was being given the opportunity to defend itself for allegedly not rendering accounts during the period under review. He said the summoned were to appear before them 11a.m. on the said day, failure which would force the lawmakers to invoke relevant sections of the law.
The chairman, who accused the agency of evading invitations in the past without explanations, stated that SON was “holding the Auditor General of the Federation hostage by not rendering accounts.” He clarified that his committee was probing non-presentation of financials by non-treasury funded agencies of government.
In a related development, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to impress it on heads of departments and agencies to prioritise accountability while utilising public funds.
Its Lead Director, Eze Onyekpere, said the body had filed 16 charges bordering on freedom of information, public finance management, and due process as well as recovered loot before different courts.
The centre put the amount the respective agencies allegedly failed to declare or remit to the Federation Account at over N1.5 trillion. Onyekpere, who gave details of the suits yesterday in Abuja, lamented that while Nigeria was burdened by huge foreign loans, revenues which ought to be deployed towards financing the yearly budgets and other key projects were supposedly being embezzled by parastatals.
He hinted that the centre had decided to make public its litigation docket to expose the degree of rot in the country. The director further described as unfortunate, “the fact that whenever any of the defaulting government agencies is dragged to court over embezzlement of public funds, some notable lawyers are hired with same public funds for self-defence.”