Senate Compelled To Issue Arrest Warrant To Heads of MDAs

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The Senate on Thursday said it might be compelled to issue a warrant for arrests on heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), which failed to appear before it.

The heads of the MDAs were to appear before the senate to defend queries against them in the  2015 Audit report of the Office of Auditor General of the Federation (OAGF).

Sen. Matthew Urhoghide (PDP-Edo), Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, made the disclosure when the committee met to hear the defence of the MDAs on the queries.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) however, reports that none of the agencies expected to defend the audit report queries raised against them appeared before the committee, in spite of receiving notices from the committee to appear.

Urhoghide, however, said the MDAs must appear before it, to answer queries raised in the audited reports by the office of auditor-general.

“Warrant of arrest is the exclusive preserve of the senate because it is prescribed in our constitution.

“If you check section 89 of the constitution, very clear in the last resort, says that you must force anybody to come and give an account of any expenditure, or where it suspects that there is any infraction or corruption that have been elicited.

“I want to say that we are going to do just that. I have said it, once we invite you here, you do not come, we give you the first warning and if you do not come, we issue a warrant of arrest.

“Government is a continuum, so they have to come and give account,” he said.

Urhoghide said the MDAs were invited to answer queries raised on public finance spending in the 2015 audited reports of the OAGF.

He said the report raised some queries on the spending activities of the MDAs, hence their invitation.

He said many of the agencies had yet to respond to the letter inviting them to respond to the queries.

He said some ministers of some heads of agencies were not ready to be accountable for their spendings on the public fund, noting that the 9th Senate would not tolerate the act of not appearing to defend their expenditure.

Urhoghide listed agencies that did not appear to defend the queries against them on public spending to include the Ministry of Information and Culture and Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

Others were Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Solid Minerals Development and National Population Commission.

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