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Civil servant paid self N145m PIB media fund – Senate

The Senate Public Account Committee has sustained a query which indicted a senior civil servant in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources of awarding N145m meant for the media campaign on the Petroleum Industrial Bill to himself.

The official was expected to award the contract to competent and technically experienced companies.

The query is contained in the 2015 Auditor General for the Federation report currently being scrutinised by SPAC chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide.

The query reads, “ The total sum of N145m was approved by the Ministerial Tender Board and paid to a management staff for electronic billboard advertisement, television jingles and newspapers publication.

“It is meant to create campaign awareness for the Petroleum Industry Bill.

“The contract award should have been made to competent and technically experienced companies through open competitive bidding in order to ensure transparency and accountability.

“Invoices and receipts of payment, which should be from the purported companies and agencies, whose services were engaged in the implementation of the program, were not tendered for audit.

The Chairman of the Committee at the panel sitting on Thursday asked the representative of Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Godwin Akubo to respond to the allegation.

The Ministry said, “The Director of Press Affairs, has a wealth of experience with coverage.

“His involvement bridged the gap between the ministry and media houses based on 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.”

Akubo was, however, unable to tender invoices and receipts of the N145m which the ministry spent to carry out the Petroleum Industry Bill media campaign.

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Urhoghide, however, announced the sustenance of the query and demanded the refund of the N145m to the federation account.

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