The House of Representatives has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over what it called “the reckless refusal” by the agency to render accounts of its financial transactions in the past five years. The lawmakers said the NIMASA management’s action was despicable and in clear violation of Section 85(3) (b) of the 1999 Constitution.
The resolution of the House followed the adoption of recommendations of the House Committee on Public Accounts. This was after an inquest into allegations of deliberate refusal by non-treasury funded Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to remit audited accounts covering 2014 – 2018 to the Auditor General for the Federation.
In a copy of the report seen by THISDAY, the lawmakers alleged that NIMASA had only rendered the 2014 audited accounts to the Auditor General and was yet to remit its 2015 to 2018 audited accounts. The House frowned on the recklessness of the agency’s management, stating that in spite of the huge revenue being generated by it from the coastlines, it refuses to be audited.
In the course of the investigative hearing, the report stated that the committee invited the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transportation, and some Directors of NIMASA to give reasons for the non-rendition of the accounts by the Director General to the Auditor General’s Office in compliance with Section 20 of the Procurement Act, 2007, and FR. No. 3129.
The House stated, “The reckless refusal by the management of the agency to render accounts for their stewardship for the past five years now is despicable and is a violation of Section 85(3) (b) of the 1999 Nigeria Constitution.
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“All those in office that were responsible should be disciplined and referred to the EFCC to refund all monies received by them from the government for the period 2015 – 2019 to the Treasury in line with FR 3129 of 2009.”
The House also expressed displeasure over the refusal of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to render its audited accounts in the last 13 years, despite benefiting from the federal treasury over the years. It noted that the Auditor General’s office confirmed that the last time NSITF rendered its audited account was 2005, leaving 2006 to 2018 still outstanding.
The lower chamber said, “All Directors General of the Fund and their DFAs (Directors of Finance and Administration) as well as various External Auditors from 2006 till now should be handed over to the EFCC in line with FR No, 3129 for further prosecution to compel them to refund all money received and misused by the officers.”
The House also condemned the management of the University of Calabar for refusing to audit the accounts of the institution for seven years. It said the university’s bursar refused to stand in for the Vice Chancellor, but affirmed on oath that the accounts of the Institution had not been audited from 2012 till 2019.
It added, “Non- rendition by the university is condemnable. The Vice Chancellor and former Vice Chancellors of the university with their bursars should be sanctioned and handed over to EFCC for refund of all monies received by them which they failed to account for accordingly.”
Similarly, the House recommended that the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, and the Director of Finance and Administration should be handed over to the EFCC for prosecution. It said the university submitted its 2014 audited account in 2017, and presented that of 2015 in 2018, while the ones for 2016, 2017, and 2018 were yet to be rendered to the Auditor General.
The House said concerning the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, “The university claimed the audited accounts are yet to be rectified and approved by its Governing Council; and delayed approval by the Auditor General to engage their external auditors.
“Delay and non-renditions by the university is condemnable. For this infraction, the Vice Chancellor and former Vice Chancellors with the DFAs of the university should be sanctioned and be handed to EFCC for refund of all money received by them which they failed to account for.”
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