Senate Committee on Public Accounts Thursday threatened to issue a warrant of arrest against Minister of Information, Culture and National Orientation, Lai Mohammed, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timpre Sylva , Minister of Power, Saleh Mammam and Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Talllen over their failure to honour its invitation to answer 2015 audit queries against them by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation ( AuGOF)
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide who issued the treat said that all the Ministers are expected at the investigative hearing .
According to him, it has become an ugly pattern of behaviour of persons charged with government functions in the country to disobey constituted authorities on issues of public spending and accountability .
“Over a month ago, we wrote to them to come and answer the audit queries raised against them by the Auditor-General of the Federation in its 2015 Audit Report.
“But they have deliberately and irresponsibly failed to honour our invitation. Their failure to appear before this Committee amount to outright disobedience to constituted authority.
” Ministers that even supposed to come , ran away . We won’t tolerate this any longer because the infractions observed in the accounts of their various ministries run into billions of Naira .
” They will surely be compelled to appear before this committee through issuance of warrants of arrest against them when next they fail our invitation in line with Section 89 of the Constitution”, he threatened .
He lamented that the hindrances caused by the failure of the agencies to appear before the panel is part of the reasons why Nigerians often accuse the National Assembly of not discharging its duties.
“It is only in Nigeria that people will spend government’s money and fail to show up to defend their expenditure,” he said.
He explained further that the Ministers and heads of the affected agencies gave different manner of flimsy excuses for their non appearance at the investigative hearing .
According to him, the reasons given by them are absurd , untenable and not serving any public interest .
” For example , while the Ministry of Information gave flimsy excuse of contractors who handled 3015 projects not been around , other ministries like Power, Women Affairs etc , said they are seeing the copies of the queries for the first time “, he lamented.
Other members of the Committee ,like Senators Ibrahim Hadeija ( APC Jigawa North East), Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf ( APC Taraba Central) etc , in their various remarks, concurred with the Chairman that warrant of arrest should be issued against Ministers and heads of the affected agencies , if they failed to honour their invitation , when next invited .