Members of House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts had a difficult time yesterday, coming to terms with the claims that Permanent Secretaries have legitimate rights to take home two operational vehicles of their Ministries as part of their retirement benefits.
The development followed an answer to an enquiry on the alleged “disappearance of two operational vehicles of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2015 under mysterious circumstances.”
The Committee Chairman, Hon. Wole Oke had observed that there was an audit query to that effect from the 2014/2015 audit report of the Auditor-General of the Federation.
To this end, the Committee at an investigative session on Monday quizzed the Permanent Secretary of the affected ministry, Mr William Nwankwo.
Responding to the inquiries from the lawmakers, Mr Nwankwo who assumed duties in the ministry at the twilight of 2016 stated that retired Director, one Mr Paul took away the two vehicles as part of his retirement entitlements.
He added that it was lawful for such senior retirees of the Ministry to go with such vehicles upon retirement.
But the claimed unsettled the members of the committee who demanded documentary evidence to substantiate his claim.
Oke in verbal fisticuffs with the Permanent Secretary as the ministry’s accounting officer said that he was being economical with the truth.
Consequently, the Committee mandated Nwankwo to appear with relevant documents on the subject matter Monday, 25th November 2019 to substantiate his claims.
Similarly, the committee also summoned the management team of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) retail outlets over financial queries issued by the auditor general’s office.
The summon was a sequel to the absence of the team in yesterday’s meeting of the committee
The Committee also extended the same summon to the Ministers and Permanent Secretaries of Federal Ministries of Water Resources and Solid Minerals who failed to honour the Committee’s invitations.
They are to appear on Monday, 25th November 2019 over the 2015/2016 audit queries.