…..order refund from Ministry official…….
Senate Committee on Public Accounts has unravelled how a management staff in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources allegedly paid himself N145 million as media campaign fund to garner support for the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB).
The allegation was contained in the 2015 report of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGoF) submitted to the panel, chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide.
The query read: “The total sum of N145 million was approved by the Ministerial Tender Board (MTB) and paid to management staff for electronic billboard advertisement, television jingles and newspapers publication for the campaign awareness of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
“However, instead of the contract being awarded to competent and technically experienced companies through open competitive bidding in order to ensure transparency and accountability, he clandestinely held onto the contract for himself
“Invoices and receipts of payment from the purported companies and agencies, whose services were engaged in the execution of the programme, were not tendered for audit.”
Once the communication was made bare, Senator Urhoghide asked a representative of the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Godwin Akubo, to respond to the allegation.
Consequently, he stated: “Director of Press has wealth of experience.
“His key role or involvement bridged the gap between the ministry and media houses based on public relations.
“He helped to fast-track and reached out to the target audience in good time. Therefore, his service was a blessing to the ministry.”
When invoices and receipts for the expenditure were demanded, Akubo could not make any available.
Piqued by the development, the committee chairman sustained the query and ordered immediate refund of the lump sum to the federation account.