Reps probe NIMASA over failure to audit accounts in six years

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The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on Thursday resolved to probe the activities of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, over its failure to submit its audited Accounts to the Auditor General of the Federation from 2014 till date. The Committee is currently reviewing claims of alleged deliberate and reckless refusal by non-Treasury Funded MDAs to render audited accounts to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.

The panel made the resolve yesterday after the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, who appeared before the panel, could not explain why the accounts of the key revenue-generating agency, were not audited for those years.

Recall that the Committee had last week ordered Dr Peterside, to appear before it within 48hours with evidence of audited accounts in the last four years, or face a warrant of arrest. The committee had last week, dismissed explanations of a Director who represented the DG. The director had told the panel, that the audited reports for the period under review, were ready, but yet to be approved by the Board of the Agency, but the lawmakers rejected his submission, describing it, as an afterthought. When the NIMASA DG himself appeared before the Committee on Thursday, he stood he echoed his staff, insisting that reports in question, were yet to be approved and signed by the Board of the Agency. He said that he met accumulated unaudited Accounts of the Agency, when he resumed as the DG and that he had started clearing the backlogs of unaudited Accounts for accountability.

The Chairman of the Committee, Rep Oluwole Oke at this stage stated that the submission of the DG amounted to admittance, that no audits of Accounts of the Agency, were submitted before the Auditor General of the Federation as required by the law. The Committee was miffed by the submission of Peterside who they said as a former member of the National Assembly, ought to have been a shining example to other Agencies who will present their financial Accounts promptly and without blemish. Consequently, the Committee resolved to probe the Agency and place it on status enquiry, for comprehensive auditing, to ascertain its financial status. Besides, the Committee quizzed the Vice Chancellors of several Federal Universities on their financial Accounts from 2014 till date and their remittances to the Auditor General of the Federation. Some of the affected institutions are the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, University of Jos, University Ilorin, University of Ibadan, University of Benin and the Federal University of Lokoja amongst others. The Committee resolved to place some of the Universities on status enquiry following some irregularities discovered in the documents submitted before it.