By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA— THE House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement, yesterday, cautioned Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, that they would not be ambushed by the documents she submitted without reading.
Consequently, the committee ordered her to re-appear before it tomorrow to give details of the documents she submitted, yesterday.
Adeosun honoured the committee’s invitation to explain the role of her ministry in the controversial pre-shipment inspection contract allegedly awarded by the previous administration and terminated by the current one.
Chairman of the committee, Oluwole Oke (PDP, Osun), had accused the executive arm of ambushing members of the parliament with volumes of documents without adequate time to study and digest them and take informed decision.
He said: “There’s this notion by those in the executive arm that they can just bombard us with volumes of documents and expect us to take them on immediately without having to go through and digest what has been submitted.
“Let me make it clear that the parliament is not your enemy, you put us here by virtue of your votes and if you think we are not doing well enough, you can as well take away your mandate in 2019, but you cannot just ambush us by submitting documents now and expect us to cross examine you based on that.”
Responding, the minister stated that “submitting required documents today was not in any way intended as an ambush against the honourable committee.”
She said from her knowledge of public service protocol, the permanent secretary could not sign on behalf of the minister, which was why she had to bring the documents and sign them at the hearing, being the originals.
She added that the delay was necessitated by the fact that she had been out of the country and only got in yesterday morning.
Adeosun had apologised to the lawmakers for the earlier confusion arising from conflicting engagements both within and outside Abuja as at the time the initial invitation came to her.
She said the acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry was meant to represent her, unknown to her that she had already been drafted to represent Nigeria at the summit of the Islamic Development Bank and later, the African Development Bank.
Also requested for appearance and submission of relevant documents by the procurement department of his ministry was the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, who earlier told the committee that “the procurement law doesn’t confer responsibilities on a minister to certify and cause payment for a job done.”