Reps to reopen hearing on alleged diversion of contract funds by finance ministry
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has announced its readiness to reopen hearing on allegation of diversion of contract funds and non-remittance of taxes to Federation Account by Federal Ministry of Finance.
Chairman of the committee, Kingsley Chinda, who stated this yesterday in an interview, said the committee would be meeting with officials of the ministry to find out the veracity of the allegations as made by Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.
Based on the financial activities of the ministry in 2010, the auditor-general’s office had queried the ministry for claiming to have spent N4.980 million for a seminar, which it never believed was held, and recommended that the amount should be refunded forthwith to the consolidated revenue fund.
The office further rebuked the ministry for failing to remit N6.252 million, which the ministry deducted as withholding taxes, out of payments it made to contractors for several jobs in 2010, but were not remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as required by law.
The committee requested that the amount should also, within 30 days, be repaid and evidences of refund and remittances forwarded to the committee forthwith.
The revelations were among the four queries brought against the ministry by the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation in the ministry’s financial transactions in 2010.
At the opening of the investigative hearing by the committee to examine the queries, the committee found out that in an attempt to cover up the financial abuses, the ministry concocted documents, which they tendered as evidences before the committee.
Some of the evidences, the committee said, did not tally with the figures and claims of the AGF as contained in the queries. Chinda said the actions of the ministry in approving the advances and tolerating late retirement of expenditures were against the approved government’s financial regulations.
In another query, the committee further frowned at non-verifiable claim by the ministry that it actually remitted another N85.587 million to FIRS as taxes, arising from four contracts it awarded between March and June 2010 to Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) and A & K Construction Ltd.
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