By Henry Umoru
THE Senate Committee has summoned the Auditor General for the Federation, Aghughu Arhotomhenia to appear before it next week Tuesday.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, All Progressives Congress, APC, Lagos West who gave the directive, said that the Auditor- General of the Federation is to explain reasons he has not given guidelines for the auditing of the accounts of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) since 2017 despite repeated letters from the NIS to provide the guidelines.
The Senate is summoning Aghughu Adolphus Arhotomhenla barely one month after it confirmed him as the Auditor-General for the Federation.
Recall that his confirmation February 17th was sequel to the consideration of the Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo South led Senate Committee on Public Accounts by the Senators.
Senator Adeola gave the directive to summon him yesterday when the Comtroller General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede appeared before the committee’s investigation of remittances of internally generated revenue(IGR) and 1% Stamp Duty on all contracts by MDAs into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
In the course of the investigative hearing, the Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC Barrister Victor Muruako had disclosed to the committee that his agency had not received the audited accounts of NIS since 2017 contrary to the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 among other infractions.
In his response, Mr. Babandede stated that there have been no guidelines from Auditor General’s Office despite repeated official requests from the NIS adding that the unaudited accounts over the years had just been launched by the Minister of Interior.
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According to the Immigration boss, the revenue generating operations of the agency was under a public -private partnership(PPP) arrangement that he inherited with a sharing formular agreement that cannot be readily renegotiated or cancelled in the foreseeable future leaving the agency to remit only about 20 % of revenue generated to the Federal Government.
Consequently, Senator Adeola directed Babandede to furnish the Committee with a comprehensive account of its revenue and the sharing in specific terms as well as details of the partners in the PPP deal as the committee intends to interact with the partners in presence of the Immigration.
Adeola said, “There is need to seriously interrogate the PPP arrangement and its duration as it seems to be an unending denial of needed revenue for Nigeria. A situation where partners collect 70%, leaving Immigration and Federal Government to share 30% over unending period of time is looking more like a Pick Pocket Partnership arrangement for Nigeria that should be remedied.”
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance said with the experience of Nigeria on PPP arrangement on the issue of passport and other immigration documents, there was the urgent need for the National Assembly to come up with legislation to guide and regulate such partnerships as the present ad hoc system is shortchanging the Federal Government.
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