15 August 2017

Nigeria: NCAA Boss On Status Enquiry As House Committee Probes N60.4 Million Expenditure

Abuja — The House of Representatives Public Account Committee (PAC) Monday placed the Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr. Mukhtar Usman, on status enquiry for alleged violation of financial regulations by his agency.

He is consequently expected to appear before its sub-committee to make certain clarification regarding financial misappropriations among others.

The committee, chaired by Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) had grilled the new DG at its resumed sitting, demanding explanation and rational behind approval of N54.9 million as running costs for generators and vehicles as well as N5.5 million as cash advance to staff for unspecified routine exercise.

The committee had acted upon a query by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) on the expenses.

Officials from the office of the Auditor General had during the hearing briefed the committee that the findings were made during periodic checks carried out on the accounts of NCAA, insisting there were established violation of the Public service financial regulation.

Defending the allegations, Usman said his predecessor was to blame adding however, that the expenses were incurred as a result of some emergency safety and security measures they carry out periodically and that it would embark on a similar exercise very soon.

He informed lawmakers that though, the NCAA doesn't pay auditors and inspectors during certification, it is expected to meet certain standards which invariably leads to some financial commitments.

The DG is battling to provide answers to five different queries against his office from 201.

He also admitted that an infraction may have actually been committed by his agency, going by the submissions of the AuGF.

Chinda, however, noted that the committee would not entertain embellishment of the facts, and that the DG must admit his wrong doing and take responsibility.

Usman said he would have sought for approval from the National Assembly if it involves appropriation or the Finance Minister as the case maybe, adding that the said violation was however committed before he took office as DG.

The financial regulation 2009, stipulates that the highest impress an agency chief executive is entitled to in a quarter should be N200,000- but this had reached five million according to the query against the agency.

Chinda, however, ruled that "there's no justification by any MDA to violate financial regulations. What it meant is that it is a regular practice by MDAs to give cash advances over and above what has been approved by the federal government.

"This applies to all other MDAs who take monies not approved by government to run errands and it's the approving agency that will be held liable for this.

"We want to discourage that and we will uphold this query and write our recommendation to the House and also urged the finance minister to be more vigilant in checking the activities of the MDAs, because as a committee, we cannot allow any agency to keep violating financial regulations and go scot free.

"We must demand for consequences on such violations because I see no reason why a civil servant should not be queried for violating financial regulation, we will insist on that", he said


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