Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo South Senatorial District) on Thursday warns that any Heads of MDAs who fails to honour the invitation of the Senate will be compelled arrest “through issuance of warrants of arrest against them.”
Senator Urhoghide is the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. He issued this warning after the absence of all six MDA heads invited for an investigative hearing on the audit queries issued by the office of the auditor-general.
Urhoghide noted that six Ministers had been written to over a week to appear before the Public Accounts Committee chaired by him to come and answer questions on the audit queries raised against them by the auditor-general of the federation in its 2015 audit report.”
Urhoghide mentioned the six ministers as Lai Mohammed for Ministry of Information and Culture, Petroleum Resources headed by Timipreye Silva, ministry of Power headed by Sale Mamman, ministry of Women Affairs headed by Dame Pauline Tallen, Ministry of Solid Materials headed by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Head of National Population Commission Eze Duruihuoma.
“Over a month ago, we wrote to them to come and answer the audit queries raised against them by the auditor-general of the federation in its 2015 audit report,” Mr Urhoghide said.
“But they have deliberately and irresponsibly failed to honour our invitation. Their failure to appear before this committee amount to outright disobedience to constituted authority.”
He noted further that rather than coming, the ministers and heads of the affected agencies gave different reasons which are “are absurd, untenable and not serving any public interest” for their nonappearance at the investigative hearing.
“For example, while the ministry of information gave flimsy excuse of contractors who handled 2015 projects not being around, other ministries like power, women affairs said they are seeing the copies of the queries for the first time,” Mr Urhoghide explained.
This, he said, is wont among public officers in the country and is a blight on public accountability which they should uphold.
“Ministers that even supposed to come ran away. We won’t tolerate this any longer, because the infractions observed in the accounts of their various ministries run into billions of naira.
“They will surely be compelled to appear before this committee through issuance of warrants of arrest against them when next they fail our invitation in line with section 89 of the constitution,” the lawmaker said.
“It is only in Nigeria that people will spend government’s money and fail to show up to defend their expenditure,” he said.