Reps to probe Agric Ministry over N18.9bn contract for bush clearing


By Aaron Ossai and Disun Amosun

Public Account Committee, of the House of Representatives , PAC on Wednesday resolved to unmask the real identities of company owners that executed contracts valued at N18.9bn from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for clearing of bushes, land preparation, rehabilitation of soil plant lab and others during the last COVID-19 lockdown in the country.
The resolution followed the appearance of representatives of two of the 20 affected companies at the resumed investigative hearing of the committee on queries to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs of the federal government by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation.

The affected companies are: Easy Construction Company LTD and NUKAAG VENTURES LTD respectfully while the remaining 18 Companies failed to show up

The Committee chaired by Rep Wole Oke said that the two representatives of the Companies (Johnson Philip and Taiwo Idowu), were of the Manageral cadre and as such not competent to appear before the Committee going by the Rules of the House.

Responding to a question posed by the Chairman of the Committee on whether they were familiar with the submission submitted to the Committee on the award and execution of the contracts so as not to mislead it, they both said no.

Consequently, the Committee directed the duo to leave immediately and directed that the Managing Directors or Chairmen of the companies should personally appear before it and speak to the submission before the Committee.

In addition, Hon Oke directed the Clerk of the Committee to write to the Registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC to furnish the Committee with the detailed information of the affected 20 companies, including year of incorporation, Corporate offices, names of the owners, shareholders amongst others.

According to him, “we are not concerned about who won the contracts, what we are after is to determine the value for money paid out and the sites of the projects, and we will carry out that mission to the letter.”

“The Clerk should also write the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, to finish the Committee with the financial status of the sffected Companies”, he added.

Hon Oke assured that the Committee would carry out deligent investigation into the matter as it was interested in finding out the location of the projects and the significance of such projects to the country.