Senate uncovers how ministry spent N14m for pens, N46m for letter heads
• N56m For Supply Of Tonners
The Senate has unraveled spending spree by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to the tune of N14.5million just for the supply of Schneider pens, N46million for its letter headed papers and N56million for the supply of tonners.
The exorbitant amounts shocked members of the Committee on Public Account, chaired by Senator Mathew Urhogbide. The alleged exposition of the mismanagement of public funds was contained in the 2015 Auditor General of Federation (AGF) before the lawmakers.
The query by Office of AGF reads: “The contract for the supply of Schneider biros worth N14.5million was split into smaller packages of less than N5million, each was awarded to four different companies to circumvent the permanent secretary’s approval threshold of N5million.
“Similarly, the contract for the printing of the ministry’s letter headed papers worth N46million was also split and awarded to 11 different contractors.
“Also, the contract for the supply of tonnes worth N56million was split and awarded to seven different contractors.
“The permanent secretary has been requested to explain this contravention of the public procurement Act, 2007.”
Urhoghide, thereafter, asked the representative of the ministry, Godwin Akubo, to respond to the query by the AGF. The ministry, in its response, said: “The action of the ministry was a quick response to the need for the various department in the ministry.
“These awards followed normal rules and procedures. The contracts were not split; they were awarded to the various contractors at different times when the items were needed.
“The sum of N46.6million used for printing of letter headed papers followed due process and large sum of money is explained by the volume of the letter headed papers produced for most of the departments, as per attached different letter headed papers.”
Not satisfied with Akubo’s defence, Urhoghide sustained the query and asked the committee’s secretariat to document the money spent and asked for the refund from the officers involved in the ministry.