Vanguard reports that members of the House of Representatives committee on Public Accounts, yesterday gave a 48-hour ultimatum to Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to make available the contract agreement and all financial details relating to the dualization of East-West Road in Rivers State.
The committee’s action is based on Auditor-General of the Federation’s query of 2013 which allegedly indicted the ministry on N323 billion contract sum disbursement, Vanguard reports.
The committee had, at an interactive session with officials of the ministry, led by its Permanent Secretary, Mr. William Alo, claimed that the ministry had been denying lawmakers the opportunity to sight the project’s contract agreement and relevant documents pertaining to release of funds, current state of contract and outstanding payments.
The committee, in its last meeting, had demanded for the documents which the ministry had allegedly been reluctant to forward to the committee, even as Mr. Alo claimed that the agreement was within his ministry’s reach.
But he complained that the 48 hours ultimatum given the ministry was too short for them to reproduce the documents in 40 copies, as demanded by the committee, considering their sensitive nature and volume.
He said: “As I speak with you, there is no electricity in the ministry to reproduce the documents for your committee in 48 hours. We, therefore, plead for two weeks, considering the volume of the documents you are asking for and their quality.
It is not something we can do in a hurry. We are not also expected to take government documents to commercial centres for reproduction.”
However, the committee chairman, Kingsley Chinda, PDP, Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, insisted and announced members’ willingness to conduct an assessment tour of the project after their next meeting with the officials to ensure that the committee would not be misled by the documents that would be supplied by the ministry.