The director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Muhtar Usman, has been queried by the House of Representatives Committee on Public Account for alleged violation of financial regulations.
Newsgazette.com.ng gathered that the office of the auditor general of the federation had queried the agency for spending N54.9 million on running generators and vehicles and N5.5million on cash advance to staff.
During the hearing, officials from the office of the auditor general told the committee that the findings were made during periodic checks carried out on the agency’s accounts adding that NCAA had fallen foul of the public service financial regulation.
Muhtar, who appeared before the committee during its resumed hearing today (Monday), was asked to explain the rationale committee behind the approval of such expenditures.
In his defence, Muhtar said the agency approved the expenditures for safety and security reasons stressing that NCAA would not have committed the infraction but for the emergencies.
He said “inspection is always an impromptu exercise different from auditing,” adding that his office was planning ahead and that the violation was committed by his predecessor.
He said the NCAA is expected to meet certain standards which invariably require some financial commitments.
He said he would have sought for approval from the National Assembly or the ministry of finance on any matter of appropriation.
On the N54.9 million fuel supply query from office of the auditor general of the federation, the director general said he was not very sure of the amount of fuel the agency consumes.
Even with evidence of payment and receipt given by issued by, Oando Oil Plc, the director general requested for some to get more documents regarding the transactions.
At that point the lawmakers said the director general had been placed on status enquiry and resolved that the staff who benefitted from the largess should make refund.
“There’s no justification by any ministry, department and agency to violate financial regulations. What it means is that it is a regular practice by MDAs to give cash advances over and above what has been approved by the federal government.
“This applies to all other MDAs which take monies not approved by government to run errands and it is the approving agency that will be held liable for this.
“We want to discourage that and we will uphold this query and write our recommendation to the House and also urged the finance minister to be more vigilant in checking the activities of the MDAs because as a committee, we cannot allow any agency to keep violating financial regulations and go scot-free.
“We must demand for consequences on such violations because I see no reason why a civil servant should not be queried for violating financial regulations. We will insist on that,” said the committee’s chairman, Mr. Kingsley Chinda.
The committee resolved to investigate and take inventory of the number of generators, vehicles and quantity of fuel the agency uses in its offices across the country and report to the plenary in 14 days’ time.