From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Ministry of Petroleum Resources has reacted to the recent report on how the Senate uncovered N116 million spent on stationery and an additional N145 million spent by the Minister himself.
Deputy Director Information of the Ministry, Enefaa Bob-Manuel in a statement explained that reported infractions took place in 2015 as raised by the Auditor-General of the Federation in his report.
“It should further be noted that these infractions appeared in the 2015 report of the Auditor-General for the Federation which is presently under consideration by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Senate.
“The public should further note that the officers whom the report of the Auditor-General for the Federation frowns at their conduct have since either retired from service or have been deployed out of the Ministry of Petroleum in line with the practice in the civil service.
“The Ministry of Petroleum Resources appreciates the genuine concern of well-wishers who have drawn our attention to these publications and wish to assure them that the infractions happened way back in 2015, before the commencement of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari”, she stated in the statement.
She added that the officers involved have been under investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The query against the ministry 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.”