…order FIRS to submit VAT certificates of Spectrum issued from 2009-2010
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – For failing to appear before them to answer queries Tuesday, members of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts have threatened to arrest the accounting officer of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, Mr Abdulahi Bichi and the Executive Secretary Presidential Committee on North East Initiative, PCNEI, Gen Theophilus Danjuma.
The arrest, however, would be effected should the duo fail the appear before the Committee next week Tuesday, being a rescheduled day for the hearing.
The summons were chiefly to answer queries raised by the Auditor General to the Federation, AuGF apparently on the finances of the agencies.
At the hearing, members of the committee expressed regrets that most agencies of government and many individuals had made it a custom to dishonour summons by the parliament.
In their separate contributions, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta State) and Hon. Linus Okorie (PDP, Ebonyi State) suggested the invocation of Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution as amended to arrest the two men.
Ruling on the issue, Chairman of the Committee, Hon Kingsley Chinda, and PDP Rivers State said that the relevant sections of the law would be applied if the invitees refused to appear next week.
“The attitude of some of these agencies is irresponsible particularly now that the fight against corruption is raging and some MDAs will neglect invitation to answer queries raised by AuGF.
“This committee Will not hesitate to invoke Sections 88 and89 particularly Section 89c if they fail to appear before us next week Tuesday and based on this the Secretariat is hereby directed to within the next 24hours send a letter of summon to them with a validly signed acknowledgment”, he said.
Also yesterday, the committee mandated the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, to make available all VAT receipts collected between 2009 and 2010 by the Ministry of Communication Technology.
The committee also asked the Ministry to appear before it with all relevant documents as raised by the AuGF’s office on Tuesday.
This, according to the committee was to enable it verify four queries raised by the AuGF office over VATs charged by the Ministry and all the companies charged for the allocation of Spectrum licences.
The committee reached the decision when the Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary, Mr Gyar Iseni could not respond to questions concerning VAT payments on Spectrum allocation to companies.
He said “since the Ministry was demerged from Ministry of Information it became difficult for us to have their details.”