The Office of Auditor-General Office of the Federation has said the Ministry of Petroleum Resources spent N116 million for the supply of pens, letter heads papers and toners.
The findings of the Auditor General’s Office on mismanagement of public funds contained in its 2015 audit report was presented to the Senate Committee on Public Account by the AuGF on Thursday, December 10.
A breakdown of expenditure showed the disbursement of N14.5 million for the supply of Schneider biros, N46 million for letter head papers and N56 million for toners. The query issued to the Ministry by the AuGF reads in part:
“The contract for the supply of Schneider biros worth N14.5 million was split into smaller packages of less than N5 million each was awarded to four different company in order to circumvent the permanent secretary’s approval threshold of N5 million,”
“Similarly, the contract for the printing of the ministry’s letter head worth N46 million was also split and awarded to 11 different contractors. Also, the contract for the supply of toners worth N56 million was split and awarded to seven different contractors. The Permanent Secretary has been requested to explain this contravention of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.”
At the PAC session, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide accused the Ministry of Petroleum Resources of frivolous expenditures and asked the representative of the Ministry, Godwin Akubo, to respond to the query by the Auditor General of the Federation.
In his response, the Permanent Secretary, however, justified the expenditure, insisting that no law was breached.
“The action of the ministry was a quick response to need of the various department in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources,” stated Mr Akubo.
“These awards followed normal rules and procedures. The contract were not split. They were awarded to the various contractors at different times when item were needed. The sum of N46.6 million used for printing of letter head papers followed due process and large sum of money is explained by the volume of the letter head papers produced for most of department as per attached different letter headed papers.” he added.
However, the Chairman of the Committee expressed dissatisfaction with the defence of the Perm. Sec and therefore directed his Committee Secretariat to document the money spent and asked for refund from the officers involved in the ministry.