The Senate Public Accounts Committee had shown surprise following the report of the Auditor General of the Federation, that the officials of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources spent N116M to buy biros, toners and letterhead papers under a year.
Breaking down the expenditure, N14.5m was used to purchase Schneider biros, N46M was used to print the ministry’s letterhead and N56m was to procure toner for its photocopy machines.
The Auditor General of the Federation stated this in his 2015 audit report currently being looked into by the Senate committee led by Senator Mathew Urhoghide.
He added that “Similarly, the contract for the printing of the ministry’s letterhead worth N46M was also split and awarded to 11 different contractors.
Also, the contract for the supply of toners worth N 56 m was split and awarded to seven different contractors. The permanent secretary has been requested to explain this contravention of the Public Procurement Act 2007.”
The Chairman of Senate Public Accounts Committee SPAC asked the representative of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Godwin Akubo who is also the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, to respond to the query by the Auditor General.
The PS said, “The action of the ministry was a quick response to the needs of the various departments in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. These awards followed normal rules and procedures”
According to Akubo, “The contracts were not split. They were awarded to the various contractors at different times when items were needed.
The sum of N46.6m used for printing of letterhead followed due process and the large sum of money is explained by the volume of the produced for most of the departments.”
However, the Senate Committee was not satisfied with the defence of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry. The chairman of the committee sustained the query, and he asked the committee secretariat to document the money spent and ask for the refund from the officers involved in the Ministry.