Reps Summon Ameachi Over NIMASA’s N25m Donation To ‎NCS

Rotimi Amaechi

…Condenms FERMA’s inability to utilise  N10bn allocation
The House of Representatives on Wednesday summoned the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to explain the ministry’s role in the authorization and spending of N25. 250 million as donation without appropriation in 2008.
Amaechi is expected to appear before the House Committee on Public Accounts.
Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Ibrahim Baba, explained that Amaechi is expected to appear before the committee with records of the ministry’s budgetary appropriations for 2008, so as to determine whether or not there were provisions for the said donation.
The authorization was allegedly  made in 2008 during the tenure of Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke as minister of Transportation.
The summon is sequel to inability of Director General of Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Dakuku Peterside to produce required documents and explain to the committee why the spending was made in 2005 when funding for it was contained in the 2008 budget.
The said donation was made to National Chamber of Shipping (NCS) to support its activities.
Auditor General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris‎, who accused NIMASA of the illicit spending in its 2010 report requested that the fund should be refunded to the consolidated revenue account.
In the said report, the AGF  accused the agency of raising 14 separate payment vouchers amounting to N41.261million prior to 2010.‎
According to the report, various companies and individuals were paid without adhering to due process.
Meanwhile,  the House has decried  inability of Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to utilise a N10 billion disbursed to the agency from the 2016 budget.
Unsatisfied with his explanations and documentary submissions, the committee urged the Director General to quickly put up a technical team that would harmonize their submissions to the committee and return on a date that would be given with all proofs of their payments, bank statements and budgetary appropriations from 2006 to 2010.

The lawmakers during an interactive session with management team of FERMA expressed concerns over the dilapidated federal roads across including Akure-Akungba, Enugu-Onitsha, Lagos-Sango Otta, Benin-Agbor, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressway which they described as death traps.

Chairman, House Committee on FERMA, Jerry Alagbaso‎who presided over the session, queried the lopsidedness in the list of federal roads to be maintained by the agency, also frowned at the removal of Lagos-Sango Otta road project from the 2016 budget.

Alagbaso who frowned at the complacency of the FERMA management team towards fixing the collapsed roads which claimed lives of thousands of  Nigerians.

 “The spirit of those who died on those roads will continue to roving around FERMA,”‎ he said.

The lawmakers also frowned at the failure of FERMA to submit relevant documents requested by the sub-Committee set up to audit the activities of the agency at the last interactive session.

The Committee after an executive session, directed the agency to process the N10 billion and commence maintenance work of all Federal roads before the Yuletide celebration.

While speaking on the resolution of the Committee on the alleged unilateral appointment of directors, Alagbaso explained that all the affected personnel have been directed to regularise their appointment without further delay to avoid being stripped of their portfolios.

Acting Managing Director of FERMA, Mr. Peter Ibu,  in his submission argued that the agency was incapacitated by lack of funding, though admitted that fund was released in October 2016.

He also disclosed that the agency was directed not to award any contract, until further clearance.

Ibu explained that the agency could not award the contract in line with the ‘no cash, no contract,’ policy, stresimg that violation of that Public Procurement Act could lead any public officer to jail.

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