By Chimezie Godfrey
The Public Account Committee (PAC) of the Federal House of Representatives has summoned the appearance of the Minister of science and technology and the permanent secretary before the parliament on Tuesday next week over non submission of audited accounts of the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency.
The Chairman, (PAC), Hon. Oluwole Oke on Friday in Abuja, made the ruling at ongoing Public Hearing on the “Need to Investigate the Deliberate and Reckless Refusal by Non-Treasury and partially funded Agencies to render their audited accounts from the period of 2014 to 2018 to the Auditor General for the Federation.
The Chairman pointed out that it was necessary for the Minister of Science and Technology and Permanent secretary to appear before the committee in order to unravel the issues going on with the agency and the reason for their non-submission of audited account over the years.
According to the Auditor General for the Federation, Mr Anthony Ayine, the agency has never made any submission of financial statements to his office.
“Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency, there is no evidence that they have ever submitted financial statement,” the Auditor General said.
However, the Director General/Chief Executive, Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), Samuel Oghene Etatuvie said that the agency has rendered its audited accounts up to 2013.
He gave reasons that they have not been able to render the audited accounts of 2014 till date due the agency not having adequate financial capacity, adding that they have been struggling all these years.
But Hon. Oluwole Oke, Chairman, PAC, overruled the statement of the DG saying that it is not possible to use oral defence to counter the facts of a written document.
Oke decried the fact that the agency which has been in existence since 1997 has no financial record with the office of the Auditor General for the Federation.
He also pointed out that the total revenue profile of this agency amounts up to on billion Naira and yet they refused to be accountable to the Nigerian government.
In the light of the foregoing, the Public Account committee in its ruling ordered that the DG should reappear next week before the committee with the Minister of Science and Technology and the Permanent Secretary.
“Invite the Minister of Science and Technology with the Permanent Secretary to appear before the committee next week,” the PAC Chairman ruled.