The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on Monday summoned a former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Poverty Eradication, Dr. Magnus Kpakol, over alleged misuse of about N20bn voted for poverty alleviation projects between 2004 and 2009 by the Federal Government.
Kpakol had doubled as the Coordinator of the National Poverty Eradication Programme.
The summons was in furtherance of a Status Inquiry into the operations of NAPEP, which the committee started on Monday in Abuja.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Solomon Adeola, announced the decision to summon the former presidential aide, after the committee rose from a meeting at the National Assembly.
Adeola said the summons was the next option as Kpakol had not responded to a series of invitations to appear before the committee to answer audit queries bearing on “non-retirement of funds and mismanagement of funds generally.”
He added, “There are a total of 33 queries raised by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation against the operations of NAPEP between 2004 and 2009; the period he was in charge of affairs there.
“Having decided to avoid us, we have opened a Status Inquiry into the operations of NAPEP for this period.
“We are looking into the operations of the agency; the contracts awarded for Keke-NAPEP; how they were bought and sold; what was the revenue generated and so on.
“The queries raised, which have not been answered, deal with the financial activities of the agency under his watch.
“If this number of queries were raised against an agency and you did not bother to answer them, there is a serious problem regarding our management of public offices.”
Kpakol was given a period of two weeks to appear before the committee, failing which Adeola threatened that the House would be advised to invoke “stiffer constitutional powers” to bring him to the National Assembly.
The committee observed a “growing trend” in the management of public agencies and parastatals where they had audit queries piled up for as much as eight years.
Adeola added, “There are about 600 agencies and parastatals of government; three quarters of these agencies have audit queries, which they ignore.
“The Ministry of Environment alone has about 100 audit queries covering seven years.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria is one of them. I am really shocked about this one; it has not submitted its audit report for six years.”
Besides the CBN, the committee found out that the Nigerian Immigrations Service had not answered audit queries for eight years, while the Ministry of Interior had seven years of queries against it.
The Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office of the Federation have audit queries of six years and five years respectively.
The committee also listed Ministry of Women Affairs (six years); Ministry of Science and Technology (five years); National Industry Court (five years); Ministry of Aviation (five years); Ministry of Power (four years); Ministry of Information (four years); and Ministry of Water Resources (four years).
“The committee has found out a common tradition across board that agencies and parastatals of the Federal Government are not audited; some for the past 10 years,” Adeola added.