Representatives uncovers alleged illegal lodgement of N60.77m in agency’s account
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has alleged that Cross River Basin Authority lodged N60.774 million meant for its overhead operations into a fixed deposit account in a commercial bank without authorisation.
At an investigative hearing at the instance of the Office of Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF), which petitioned the agency in a query to the House, claimed that of the amount, only N36.336 million was discovered to have been lodged by the organisation at the time of audit.
It is unclear the whereabouts of the remaining amount, the AGF’s office said, stressing that the action of the organisation contravened the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
It said the amount, which was received by the organisation from two sources in two tranches for developing its area office in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, was lodged and withdrawn from the bank illegally without proof of interest generation since 2007, and sought the help of the lawmakers in recovering the money with the interest.
But in her defence, the managing director of the organisation, Mrs. Eta Eyo Ita, denied getting the amount, stating that only N31.727 million was received from Akwa Ibom State government and Federal Ministry of Water Resources for the office development.
She said while N19.99 million was payment the organisation got from the state government for sale of the property, N11 million came from the agency’s parent ministry for contract mobilisation.
She, however, could not provide proof of authorisation to the bank requesting the conversion of the account to fixed deposit, amount of investment, interest generated and the current status of the contract.
Chairman of the House committee, Kingsley Chinda, later gave the management of the organisation one week to furnish it with all relevant proofs of their defence.