By Okey Ndiribe & Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA — Chairman of House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee, Mr. Adeola Olamilekan, has advised the Federal Government to scrap the service-wide vote as a budget head, since it encourages financial profligacy among public servants.
Olamilekan advocated this, weekend, during the public hearing of the committee, when representatives of several public institutions were tongue-lashed for dipping their hands into the fund without giving account.
Among chief government institutions that were given an ultimatum of one week or risk being ordered to refund their extra-budgetary expenditures were the Supreme Court, National Planning Commission and Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE.
The Supreme Court Team, led by the Deputy Chief Registrar, Ahmed Saleh was given a deadline of one week to reconcile its accounts or be compelled to refund N78 million, which the apex court claimed was used for the refurbishment of the official residences of Supreme Court judges in Lagos in 2006.
Olamilekan pointed out that while the actual amount appropriated for the Supreme Court that year was N523 million, the apex court overspent its allocation by N78 million through the allocation to service-wide vote.
He observed that N26 million, which was used to refurbish one of the Houses in Lagos in 2006, could have been used to erect a new building. The total amount utilised for the refurbishment of the houses of the apex court judges was N94 million in 2006.
Olamilekan said his committee’s observation was infallible if the Director of Finance and Administration, DFA, of the apex court admitted that the Accountant-General of the Federation’s financial statements, as it related to the Supreme Court for 2006, was right.
The Committee Chairman postponed further hearing on the matter until next week to enable the relevant officials procure and present all the needed documents before the House.
National Planning Commission and BPE, which also appeared before the Committee, were also given the same deadline or refund N152 million and N163 million, respectively, to the federation account.