By Tordue Salem
ABUJAâ€”House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, yesterday scolded the Minister of Police Affairs, Dr. Ibrahim Lame, for failing to account for N3.5 billion.
The lawmakers who rebuked the Minister at an interactive session also expressedÂ amazement that he spent so much without the approval of the National Assembly.
The funds were meant for strategic crime prevention projects in seven cities in the country was approved for the Police Force when the Ministerâ€™s predecessor was in office.
The Reps committee discovered that most of the companies given various contracts by the Minister had no fixed addresses and also that the fund did not achieve 20 per cent of its intended purpose.
Some of the legislators who thought the Minister was holding back information on the issue, angrily left the meeting.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Usman Nafada noted that the purpose of the project was to make the police force more pro-active in combating crime.
He challenged the Minister to produce a breakdown of the amounts spent in each of the seven states.
â€œI know that one of the conceptions of this project is to make the police arrive a crime scene or respond to a distress call within five minutes. What exactly have you done in trying to achieve this objective? How much have you released to each of the seven cities? We want specifics; let us know how much has been released.â€
However, the Minister claimed ignorant of the meeting, saying he was not informed on time. â€œI was not informed of this discussion. It was purely a procurement contract, but we wanted to build capacity so I got experts to help me. If I knew I was coming to the House today, I would have prepared better.â€
The Minister said some of the items that the money was spent on included â€œspecialized security vehiclesâ€ saying that experts had also been brought in from the United Kingdom to train members of the force on specialized crime intervention.