Reps’ panel threatens to arrest Danjuma, Bichi

Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa

Orders FIRS to submit VAT certificates of Spectrum issued from 2009-2010
Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts have threatened to arrest the Accounting Officer of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Mr. Abdullahi Bichi and the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative (PCNEI), Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, if they continue to ignore their invitations.

The duo had failed to turn up yesterday to defend themselves over allegation of financial impropriety levelled against them despite being duly invited by the committee.

Apparently disturbed by their deliberate refusal to appear before it and defend queries raised by the Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF), the committee fixed Tuesday next week for the hearing or may be forced to issue warrant of arrest if they fail.

Chairman of the committee, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Obio Akpor Constituency of Rivers State), said: “The attitude of some of these agencies is irresponsible particularly now that the fight against corruption is raging and some MDAs will neglect invitations to answer queries raised by the AGF.

“This committee will not hesitate to invoke Sections 88 and 89 and particularly Section 89c if they fail to appear before us next week Tuesday and based on this, the secretariat is hereby directed to within the next 24 hours send a letter of summon to them with a validly signed acknowledgement.”

Before the chairman’s ruling, members of the committee had berated the attitude of most agencies that had appeared before it and had nothing to offer.

Also yesterday, the committee directed the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to furnish it with all Valued Added Tax (VAT) receipts collected between 2009 and 2010 by the Ministry of Communication Technology.

This, the committee said, is to enable members verify four queries raised by the AGF office over VAT charged by the ministry and all the companies charged for the allocation of Spectrum licences.

This was however sequel to the fact that the Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary, Mr. Gyar Iseni, said that it was difficult for him to answer questions concerning VAT payments on Spectrum allocation to companies.

He said since the Ministry of Communication Technology was separated from Ministry of Information, it became difficult for them to have their details.

This made the committee to resolve that the Ministry of Communication Technology should also appear before it next week Tuesday with all relevant documents as raised by the AGF in its queries against it.

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