The Nigerian senate has disapproved the release of N98.4m to the Petroleum Resources Ministry for an awareness campaign.
Naija News understands that the ministry received queries after a 2015 report by the auditor-general for the federation, revealed the huge sum of money was released for the ministry just for flyer printing.
Reacting to the report, Senate Public Account Committee described as unacceptable the payment of N98.4m for the Petroleum Industrial Bill. According to the lawmakers, the fund was released without due process.
The Chairman of the Senate panel, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, while commenting on the said money disbursed, noted that payment of N39m was into the accounts of two persons for the purpose of monitoring the ministry’s project within the Federal Capital Territory.
The query on the PIB funding read in part: “Contrary to the procurement process, an entry in the cash book for the sum of N98.4m was made in favour of a company for printing of leaflets for awareness campaign programme for the Petroleum Industry Bill.
“There was no formal award of contract and it was also observed that the approval for the payment was via memo presented by the Director (Press) to the Ministerial Tender Board meeting of 9th and 11th October, 2013.
“The permanent secretary had been requested to take procedural disciplinary measures against the erring officers in line with provisions of extant regulation.”
On its part, while responding to the critics against the funding, the petroleum ministry explained that massive publicity needed to be created, hence the awareness campaign programme.
The written response read thus: “Adequate publicity was made: M/S Dangrace and Partners Limited were selected based on proven capabilities and competence.
“It should be stated that veritable costing proposals were submitted and approved before the authorisation for the award and production of Petroleum Industry Bill leaflets.
“The (Media) Department complied with necessary rule and procedure.”
Naija News understands that the senate committee had ordered two officers allegedly involved in the receipt of N39.7m in their personal bank accounts to return the money to the federation account.
In another news, elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai, during a recent interview said other regions in Nigeria are known for blaming northerners for their problem when the North has the highest number of poor people in the country, Naija News reports.