Reps panel quizzes amnesty chief over alleged misuse of N3.9billion
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives, yesterday, quizzed the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Dixon Dikio (rtd), over alleged misuse of over N3.9 billion.
The committee, chaired by Mr. Busayo Oke (PDP-Osun), said that over N3.9 billion was reportedly expended by the agency in breach of laid down rules and regulations.
PAC pointed at 21 different queries raised by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation against the amnesty programme to substantiate its claim of infraction.
According to one of the audit reports, the agency paid the money into a single account instead of the accounts of the ex-agitators who are supposed to be the beneficiaries.
Also, the auditor general queried the agency for paying N136million to two different contractors and the management could not give satisfactory account of the beneficiaries. The committee ordered presentation of relevant documents on the contractors and the amount paid to each, failure of which the auditor’s query would be sustained.
In the third query, the auditor accused the agency of approving N79million to 11 individuals as cash advance without retirement of the same till date, describing the action as gross violation of financial regulations of the Federal Government.
The Director of Finance and Accounts, Mr. Ityohume Isaac, in his defence, could not give the required proof that the amount was retired. He claimed that he was not in office when the incident happened
This angered members of the committee, making the chairman to rule that the amount should be refunded to the covers of the Federal Government immediately.
When it got to the fourth query, Dikio pleaded that the committee step down all the queries to enable him and his men put their records in order before coming back to the panel. The lawmakers agreed.
Attempts by the administrator to exonerate himself and members of his team from the audit queries were faulted on the ground that government is a continuum and he is in charge and should take responsibility.
However, Isaac claimed that the payments were made to the camp leaders of the former agitators, who in turn paid the money to those under them.
he DFA further justified the action, saying that not all the former agitators were on the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The committee chairman ruled that the agency should provide relevant documents on the expenditures, detailing the number of beneficiaries, amount involved, their addresses and the names of the hotels used, which they claimed issued them receipts.