Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Following Monday’s revelation of the 2014 audit report by the Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Samuel Ukura, to the National Assembly regarding the N3.3 trillion scam, the Senate, on Tuesday, declared that it would thoroughly probe the various entities that were mentioned in the report.
The UNION reports that queries were particularly raised against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the alleged mismanagement of national revenues.
Senate’s decision to conduct an investigation into the matter was made known by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, in an interview with Senate correspondents.
He urged Nigerians to wait and see what the Upper Legislative Chamber would make out of the investigation.
“The 8th Senate has chosen to be different as we have stated severally since we came on board and for which we came up with our legislative agenda to make us different from the past because we are in the season and period of change and we want to seriously key in to that.
“Along that line, you could see the courage that we have to make some differences from what has obtained in the past and o this note, we have passed reports of some committees like the TSA, which is a classical example. Through that exercise, we were able to save the country, N7 billion.
“There are similar works that has been done. We want to say that since we have chosen to be different. We urge Nigerians to wait and see what we will make out of the investigation.
“Without holding forth for the past assemblies, I want to say that it is not as if they have not been doing anything about the past audit reports. But perhaps they have not taken their action up to the scale that would have made a huge impact that people want to see. If that is what the Auditor-General means, I agree with him.
“The Auditor-General is raising a query. It is not an indictment. So, when he raises his queries, the essence of the Public Accounts Committee is to invite those parties involved in the query, and through the instruments of their own work, investigate all the issues by seeking for clarification, and at the end of the day, where they have infractions or infringement on certain procedures, they mete out appropriate sanctions as stipulated by extant rules and regulations.
“When there is a process and someone has done one part, until we conclusively finish that process, it will be wrong to accuse anyone of being guilty. These are administrative procedures, and the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has made it clear that we would take oversight functions far more serious than what it used to be in the past.
“If oversight functions are carried out properly, some of these queries that we talk about will begin to reduce because the essence is to see infractions before they happen. We, as lawmakers, will stop it before another institution discovers the anomalies and bring them to our notice. These are the powers of the National Assembly through oversight functions.
“We are committed to ensuring that a thorough job is done this time. We have demonstrated our capacity to match our words with our actions. Wait and see. It’s a promise, and we have four years to prove that we mean business,” he said.