The Nigerian Senate has said it is closing in on heads of agencies of government who have been indicted in an audit reports by the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation currently being interrogated by the Committee on Public Accounts.
The upper chamber expressed regrets at the level of recalcitrance by some heads of agencies of government in making themselves available to defend alleged financial impropriety, saying some of them hide under the guise of being part of executive arm to shy away from the Senate scrutiny.
According to Daily Post, the Chairman of Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Mathew Urhogide, revealed this in Abuja, noting that some chief executives of government agencies who misappropriated funds allocated to their MDAs have failed to honour committee invitations, because they don’t have strong defense against allegations levelled against them.
While lamenting, he said, action of those errant chief executives tended to frustrate the Committee exercise against the provision of the Constitution that empowered them to scrutinise financial transactions of government agencies.
He vowed that it wouldn’t be business as usual, stressing that those ones would be named and shamed for giving the executive arm of government a bad name.
Citing relevant sections of the Constitution the lawmaker said, the upper Chamber has the option of warrant of arrest or they on their own shouldn’t come for the 2023 budget defence as they now lack the moral right to do so.
Amid the hues and cries, Senator Uroghide said no warrant of arrest has been issued as it was only the 2015 report that has been concluded out of three years report that are being considered simultaneously.
He said, “But I want to tell you that it will not be business as usual for these agencies that fails to appear before this Committee.
“We are going to name and shame them before the Senate will take that decision. It will be their interest for them to come and defend allegations levelled against them. It’s better they come. We are talking of financial audit now which is a statutory function of this Committee.
“There is no agency that has immoral right to come and defend budget appropriation in the succeeding year when they have not accounted for what they have spent in the preceding year. It’s a shame. And those of them who believe they are part and parcel of Executive Government, they must know that they are giving executive arm of government a bad name for not coming to account for financial transactions; more so, that they have been accused by the Auditor-General for the Federation.
“What we are doing here is in accordance with the provisions of our Constitution and we are always quick to remind you that Section 85 which if you read what we are supposed to do as far as the Office of the Auditor General is concerned is that he brings the report to the Senate and of course, to the House of Representatives for consideration.”