The House of Representatives committee on public accounts has given the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ibas, a seven-day ultimatum to appear before it to defend a query on N11.5 million unaccounted for by the navy.
The summon is based on a query issued by the office of the auditor-general which said that N11.5 million was paid as rent for a four-bedroom apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos State by the Nigerian Navy.
The query added that the receipt issued did not reflect the duration of the rent and, in violation of financial regulations, there was no deduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) on the payment.
The chairman of the committee, Wole Oke (PDP, Osun), issued the ultimatum to the naval boss after he failed to appear in person before it on Monday.
A delegation of the navy which was led by the service’s assistant director of budget, Murtala Ahmed, represented Mr Ibas, a vice admiral, instead.
But Mr Oke said the committee was displeased with Mr Ibas’ non-appearance and his failure to write the committee, stating why he could not appear in person.
“If the chief of Naval staff is indisposed to appear before this committee, the least I expect him to do is to send either the Naval secretary or the chief of Naval account and budgets,” he said.
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“Please this parliament belongs to you. Democracy survives on a tripod, one of which is a very strong and vibrant armed forces. I think the military has done well and fared better under democratic governance.
“We will not accept your appearance. If the Chief of Naval Staff cannot appear, he should send a very senior officer to appear before this committee; he has seven days to appear, within seven days please,” he added.
Meanwhile, in another query from the auditor-general, it was alleged that N30 million was misappropriated as there was no record to show that compensation was given to communities whose properties were demolished while implementing the canalisation of Okoko and Ugbaga Rivers contract in Osogbo.
Reacting to the query, the permanent secretary in the ecological fund, office of the secretary-general of the federation, Habiba Lawa, said the compensation had been paid to the affected victims.
She added that the evidence of payment, which included a letter from the contractor that handled the project, payment of professional fees to negotiators, receipts and signatures of beneficiaries, had been submitted to the committee for verification.
The committee, therefore, nominated a four-member delegation to Osun to confirm if the said N30 million was paid as compensation to the victims in the area.
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