July 12, 2022

Reps c’ttee probes NESREA over N1.25bn extra-budgetary expenditures



By Levinus Nwabughiogu, Abuja

The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee, PAC, has resolved to investigate an alleged N1.25 billion extra budgetary spending by the National Environmental Standard and Regulations Agency, NESREA, incurred in 2019.

The committee said funds were expended without due process, describing it as a gross violation of the law.

Chairman of the committee, Wole Oke, disclosed this during the appearance of the Chief Executive Officer  of the agency, Professor Aliyu Jauro, to  answer to query from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.

But in his response, Jauro said the National Assembly approved the spending as it had empowered his agency  to spend its Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.

The response then prompted Oke to direct the Clerk of the Committee to write to the chairmen of the Committees on Environment of both chambers of the National Assembly and invite them for explanation.

He said:   “From details available in the 2019 submitted audited report of the agency, there was no evidence of its budget having passed through the rungs of required legislative process of submission of its estimates from the Presidency.

”No evidence of its receipt at the legislature or that it was debated on at plenary by the House before being committed to relevant committees for the necessary checks before it was compiled along with those of other MDAs and sent to Mr President for assent to become an Act.’

“If this is so, then it amounts to the two chairmen of the NASS Environment Committees just sitting back in the corners of their offices and unilaterally approving the NESREA budget and ordering commencement of expenditure without Mr President’s assent, amounting to an acts of illegality and gross insubordination.”

Oke also directed that letters be written to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and the Clerk to the National Assembly, Ojo Olatunde, to produce an evidence of correspondences between the executive and the legislature on the movement of the agency’s budget for the year under review.