Sam-AmadiThere were revelations on Tuesday that the House of Representatives Committee on Power collected N31m from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to organise a training workshop for members but did not account for the money.

The Committee on Public Accounts heard that the power committee took the money in 2010 but there was no evidence that the training workshop was held.

The PAC, which is chaired by Mr. Adeola Olamilekan, is reviewing the audit queries raised by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation on the financial transactions of government agencies.

It was the turn of the NERC on Tuesday when its Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, and top officials appeared before the committee to answer queries raised between 2009 and 2010.

A query raised against the power committee showed that an aide to the chairman collected the money in two instalments of N18m and N13m.

However, while auditing the books of the NERC, the AGF said there was no evidence that a workshop was held, neither was the N31m returned.

Olamilekan immediately asked Amadi to explain what exactly transpired.

The NERC chairman confirmed that though the records showed that the transaction took place, he could not defend it because he was not at the helm of the agency in 2010.

The committee resolved that Amadi should reappear before it on November 11 in company with his predecessor and former commissioners of the NERC to clear the issue.

The committee also directed him to fish out the aide, who reportedly collected the money, and come along with him.

Olamilekan also called for the names of the lawmakers who were expected to attend the training workshop to ascertain if it was ever held.

“This is a very serious issue that bothered on a standing committee of the House of Representatives. We are not going to look at it on the surface; we will get to the root of the matter,” he said.

But, a former member of the House Committee on Power, Mr. Ahmed Idris, who doubles as a PAC member, denied that the committee collected N31m from the NERC.

“As an active member of the House Committee on Power at that time, I was not aware of such money and the capacity training workshop. It is not true,” he said.

Another audit query indicated that NERC sourced $5,000 from the black market to offset the bills of a foreign resource person.

It noted that this was in spite of the fact that the Central Bank of Nigeria offered to handle the transaction on behalf of the commission.

NERC also reportedly bought a 100kv generator for N6m for the secretariat of the Presidential Task Force on Electricity Reform, while the market value of the generator was between N1.5m and N2.5m.

The query stated that due process was ignored in the procurement of the generator.

Amadi appealed to the committee to give him some time to search for documents of the transactions to enable him to explain some of the queries raised.

The committee later rescheduled further hearing till November 11.

 

Information from Punch was used in this report.

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