The Senate has uncovered how a management staff in the Ministry of Petroleum paid N145 million media campaign on Petroleum Industrial Bill, PIB, to himself.
According to the Senate Committee on Public Account, led by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo South, the staff, rather than award the contract to competent and technically experienced companies, decided to give himself the job.
The query is contained in the 2015 Auditor General of the Federation’s Report submitted to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts for probe and subsequent action.
The committee is relying on the query raised by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation presented to it.
The query read: “The total sum of N145 million was approved by the Ministerial Tender Board, MTB, and paid to a management staff for electronic bill board advertisement, television jingles and newspapers publication, for the campaign awareness of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, instead of awarding the contract to competent and technically experienced companies through open competitive bidding in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
“Invoices and receipts of payment should from the purported companies and agencies, whose services were engaged in the implementation of the programme were not tendered for audit.”
Soon after the query was read, chairman of the committee, Senator Urhoghide, asked the representative of Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Godwin Akubo, to respond to the allegation.
But the Ministry in its response, said: “The Director of Press has wealth of experience with coverage. His key role or involvement bridged the gap between the Ministry and media houses based on the public relations.
“He helped to fast track and reached out to target audience in good time. Therefore, his service was a blessing to the Ministry.“
After the presentation, the representative of the Permanent Secretary was unable to tender invoices and receipts of the N145 million for Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, media campaign.
Angered by the development, Senator Urhoghide sustained the query and demanded refund of the N145 million to the Federation Account.