MOST of those invited by the House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loot, Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020 by Agencies of Federal Government of Nigeria for Effective/Efficient Management and Utilisation failed to show up at the investigative hearing held in Abuja on Monday.
The committee consequently dismissed their representatives and summoned the concerned heads of ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government.
Heads of MDAs as well as top officials, the private sector and civil society organisations had been invited to the hearing to explain the status of recovered loot and public assets in the last 18 years.
Among those invited were the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd.); Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; and the Auditor General of the Federation, Adophus Aghughu.
The committee, however, expressed dissatisfaction that most of the invitees failed to show up and did not send their proxies, while the lawmakers dismissed some representatives for failing to show any letter to the committee authorising them to represent their bosses and speak on their (bosses) behalf.
Chairman of the committee, Mr Adejoro Adeogun, had taken the roll call of those in attendance and also noted that the MDAs had yet to present their memoranda to the panel.
While dismissing a representative of the NSCDC, who attempted to speak, Adeogun said, “NSCDC, we will give you today to go and appear before this committee on Wednesday with your written submission on the assets that you have recovered.
Adeogun said, “The letter you wrote to us that you do not have an inventory; that NSCDC does not keep inventory on recovered assets, that is irresponsible; it just does not give any indication that you know what you are doing.”
Adeogun was miffed when he called on the CBN, Accountant General of the Federation, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption and discovered that the heads were not in attendance.
He said, “If the heads of these agencies feel too big to show up, what message are they sending to Nigerians? Are you telling Nigerians that you are bigger than Nigeria?”
While the committee was about to take the representative of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Sabo Mohammed, who is Director of Funds OAcGF, a member of the committee, Mr Oluwole Oke, raised a point of order to urge the lawmakers to insist that the AcGF appears in person.
Earlier, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, while declaring the hearing open, noted that it was the resolution of the chamber to take the necessary action to ensure effective and efficient management and utilisation of recovered assets.
Represented by the Deputy Majority Leader, Peter Akpatason, Gbajabiamila partly said, “It is also part of our commitment to explore all the avenues available for generating income for the government to meet its obligations to the people.