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Reps summons Amaechi, others over alleged non-remittance of N166b

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Rotimi Amaechi

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has summoned the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, over alleged non-remittance of N166,685,929,000 revenue generated by some parastatals under his ministry as at December 31, 2016.

Also to appear before the Wole Oke-led committee is the management of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).

The Osun State-born lawmaker gave the directive yesterday in Abuja following the refusal of the minister and officials of key agencies under his ministry like the NPA and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to respond to audit queries by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.

He said the minister and his subordinates were being asked to appear before the committee on July 8 in the spirit of fair hearing.

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Oke added that Amaechi and the officials would also explain the cost of services rendered to the Authority, amounting to about N103.996 billion, including channels and water ways maintenance (N65.130 billion) and ports and quays expenses of N38.412 billion.

His words: “They are being expected to respond to audit queries contained in the comments of the Auditor General of the Federation on the group’s financial statement of the NPA for 2016.

“They are expected to give a breakdown of the Ports and Quays Services income, stating the respective income from each of the services, scheduled oil terminal dues, details of pilotage and service boats and the nature of rental services offered and rates applied.

“The Auditor General said they are expected to answer questions from the lawmakers, giving breakdown of maintenance, budgetary provisions and evidence of work done on the channels and waterways as examination of the accounts revealed that the channels and waterways maintenance rose from N44.427 billion in 2015 to N64.130 billion in 2016, an increase of over N20 billion.”

He went on: “The auditor’s comments suggested that the NPA incurred about N38.412 billion as service charge on ports and quays and demanded that the management of the Authority provide details of how these charges were incurred and also to explain what they meant by the term ‘others’ for which about N4.7 billion was spent.

“The Auditor General said further examination of the accounts of the NPA revealed that Intels Integrated Services Limited was overpaid its commission to the tune of N2.099 billion.

“The minister and the NPA management are also to explain what happened to the dividend income of N643.006 million received from their joint venture partners, as well as interest income of about N97.8 million and N28.7 million being interest from bank deposits, loans and receivables.”

Other complaints against the NPA include administrative expenses of N61 billion, consisting of professional charges of N638 million, donations and subscription of N1.88 billion, exchange loss of N7.3 billion, defined benefit expenses of N11.4 billion and director’s remuneration of N4.2 million.

The Auditor General’s query, signed by Adolphus Aghughu and dated May 24, 2021, also identified what it called understatement of depreciation charges to the tune of N6.4 billion, stressing that “the provision made against eight classes of property amounted to N4.472 billion as against N10.891 million arrived at during vetting.”

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