OrderPaperToday – The Senate has said that the National Assembly won’t hesitate to issue a warrant of arrest on any government official that refuses to appear before its Committees to account for public funds in their trust.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, disclosed this on Friday while fielding questions at a briefing of Editors, Bureau Chiefs and members of the Senate Press Corps as part of events to mark the 2nd anniversary of the Ninth Senate in Abuja.
Lawan was reacting against the backdrop of likely concerns into findings by the Public Accounts Committee on the report of the Auditor-General for the Federation on the accounts of the Federation for the year ended 31st December, 2015.
The report was laid on Tuesday this week by the Public Accounts Committee Chairman, Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo South) during plenary.
“The Public Accounts Committee normally works with the report of the Auditor-General for the Federation.
“[And] the report of the Auditor-General is an annual report. Normally, report infractions where an agency was given money, there was expenditure that the Auditor-General could not understand, he will give thirty days for that organization to come and explain.
“If the agency does not come forward in thirty days to give an explanation, that issue is put in the Auditor-General’s report.
“It is not a final indictment, so to speak. The Public Accounts Committee is supposed to invite the agency to come and explain what the Auditor-General is reporting.
“[And] I’m sure that our public accounts committee has been doing its best. Where an agency refuses to appear, we normally have some other ways of maybe after three invitations to appear, then we go for the warrant of arrest.
“I served as as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee for eight years, and I had the benefit of getting my Senate President to sign warrant of arrest of some people who felt they were so big. [And] at the end of the day, they ran all over the place looking for soft landing.”
“We will not hesitate to sign warrant of arrest on anyone who refuses or fails to appear to account for public funds in his or her trust”, Lawan stated.