Senate Gives Communications Minister Pantami 48 Hours Ultimatum To Account For N13.9bn
The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has been issued a 48-hour ultimatum to account for N13.9 billion Service Wide vote collected from 2017 to 2021.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Mathew Uroghide handed down the ultimatum at an investigative hearing on Tuesday in Abuja.
The directive followed the inability of the Permanent Secretary, William Alo to effectively defend the expenditure of a whopping N13.9 billion before the panel having appeared on behalf of the Ministry.
Alo could not produce documentary evidence, leaving the panelists bewildered on the impunity going on in the Ministry. Midway into the investigation, the Permanent Secretary and the Director of Finance in the Ministry pleaded for more time to produce supporting documents.
The request infuriated the lawmakers who disclosed that the Committee battled to have the Ministry’s officials appear before it for the past four months.
Senator Uroghide said: “Based on records made available to the committee from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, a total of N13.9 billion was disbursed to the Ministry from the Service Wide votes for special capital projects execution from 2017 to 2021.”
The lawmaker stated that the Committee has written several letters of invitation but the officials keep reneging.“Only for you to come here today along with the DFA of the Ministry to beg for more time which would not be granted beyond Thursday this week because the committee must submit report to the Senate on how your Ministry and many of the other MDAs are running away from explanations on spending’s made from the Service Wide Votes,” he said.
Uroghide said an investigation by the committee showed that government officials spent Service Wide Votes recklessly and insisted that the Ministry of Communications must explain how the fund was spent.
The committee, however, granted the embattled Permanent Secretary another appearance before it on Thursday