The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee (PAC)
has ordered the Federal Fire Service to refund N1,484,903,760.00 billion allocated to its as COVID-19 Intervention funds.
The House committee chaired by Representative Bamidele Salam gave the directive over the non-appearance of officials of the agency for three consecutive invitations and newspaper publication
In his opening remarks, Rep. Salam said that the Federal Fire Service has been invited on three different occasions, the first in November 2023, the second in December 2023, and today 31st of January, 2024 to come and explain how COVID-19 funds were spent, apart from writing letter, the committee also facilitated advert placement on National dailies on two different occasions the last one be on the 4th January, 2024.
“Today we asked them to come by noon and this is one hour later and we’ve not seen the fire service” he noted.
“Mr. Chairman you will recall that I’m the mover of this motion after a lot of pressure from Nigerians about a large misuse of these funds during the covid, and you have used this committee to do justice to this investigation, so many agencies have appeared and the investigation is ongoing and I see no reason that an agency of government who got over a billion naira will refuse to appear before this very important investigation of this constitutional committee that we suppose to respect own agenda and respecting the committee because of the constitutional power it drives and if federal fire service deal with the committee this way, I feel we should summon them to appear on a specific day, that is my position” Hon. Nyampa Zakaria noted
According to the Chairman, “A public officer who fails to respond to the Auditor-General’s query satisfactorily within 21 days for failure to collect Government Revenue due shall be surcharged and be transferred to another schedule. Where an officer fails to give a satisfactory reply to an audit query within 7 days for his failure to account for government revenue, such officer shall be surcharged for the full amount involved and such officers handed over to either the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)”
The Chairman announced that the committee will afford the National Centre for Disease Control (N5 billion), Ministry of Agriculture (N63.8 billion), Ministry of Women Affairs through the Centre for Women Development (N1.25 billion), Ministry of Health (N53 billion), and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (N33 billion) another opportunity to present before the committee regarding the allocation of Covid-19 funds.
Angered members moved the motion for the fire service to refund the sum of N1 billion to the federation account within 7 days and present the evidence of such transaction to the committee shortly thereafter.