President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the forensic audit of all contracts awarded by the Ministry of Transport under the previous administration, Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi disclosed on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Minister made the revelation when he appeared before the ad hoc committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate contracts for the upgrade and rehabilitation of the nation’s railway system.
Amaechi, who said he took the initiative to determine the state of contracts awarded by all the agencies under his ministry by seeking an approval from the president authorizing the forensic audit to be carried out, informed the committee that the president had given his approval for the audit.
However, the Minister said the audit hasn’t commenced because due process is being followed, adding that the approval is being processed by the Bureau of Public Procurement after which the firm that will carry out the audit will be announced by the federal government.
Based on this, he informed the House ad hoc committee that he has no information in respect of the rail contracts to offer to the committee, adding that “until the forensic audit is completed, l can’t provide any answers to your questions”.
Meanwhile, a mild drama played out during committee’s hearing when the management of the Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC) disputed the claims of the representatives of the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation in respect of the audit queries issued in respect of some of the rail contracts being executed by the government.
While the auditor-general’s office accused the NRC management of failure to respond to queries issued following the argumentation of the signaling contract of the Port-Harcourt – Makurdi rail line from the initial N5 .6billion to N10.3 billion; the execution of the N19billion Port-Hardourt – Makurdi rail project and the Makurdi – Kuru- Jos- Kafanchan rail line by the contractor, the acting Managing Director of the NRC, Mr. Fidget Okhiria said the NRC had answered all the queries and had received replies from the office of the auditor-general of the federation.
Following this disagreement, Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Rep. Johnson Agbonayinman (PDP-Edo) directed the NRC management to forward all the answers to the audit queries and the response from the office of the auditor general for further legislative scrutiny.