Missing N113m: Senate threatens Finance Ministry, Perm Sec with arrest warrant
The Senate has threatened to issue arrest warrant to the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, as well as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry.
The Senate made this known on Tuesday, warning that the warrant would be issued if the Permanent Secretary and Director, Cash Departments of the Ministry fail to appear to provide sensitive documents related to disbursement of Service Wide Votes and missing N113 million on salary adjustment for Joint Admission Board Matriculation (JAMB).
According to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo South), the threat became imperative over the refusal of the Director to appear before the Committee after three consecutive invitation.
Urhoghide noted that the Committee had written a letter of appearance to the Ministry on October 20, 2022 and the letter was received October 21, 2022 by the Ministry.
The Ministry was also expected to give details of release to all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), including the Police and the Armed Forces.
The chairman further said that another letter was written to the Ministry on December 8, 2022, on the issue concerning missing N113million of salary augmentation for JAMB.
Meanwhile, the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) told the Committee that the N113 million was released to JAMB in May 2017 for salary augmentation.
The representative of JAMB, who is the Director of Finance and Administration, Mufutau Bello, told the Committee that the N113million was not released to the Board, stressing that if the money was released, it would have cut across the whole year.
Bello maintained that it would cut across all MDAs using CONLESS and if there is a shortfall in May, it will spread to the whole year.
Upset over the alleged gap, and frequent disregard of the Committee by the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance and the Director, Cash Management of the Ministry, Urhoghide, therefore, gave the Permanent Secretary 48 hours to appear and provide the relevant documents to the Committee or face warrant of arrest by next week.
Recall that in recent times, the Ministry has been under the scrutiny of the lawmakers, particularly over cases of budget padding among other issues and several invitations by both chambers of the National Assembly have recently been clouded with the need for the Ministry to appear to offer explanations on certain suspected cases of financial infractions.