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We spent N367m without NASS approval – DG NNRA

*How Senate exposed Lawrence Dim

*Will CCB follow ICPC too?

Certainly, the stench oozing from the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) is killing. Watchers, staffers and pundits are already wondering if the Code of Conducts Bureau (CCB) will follow the tracks that the ICPC has followed in investigating but not prosecuting the Director General of the organisation, Prof Lawrence Dim.

Checks by www.gongnews.net has shown how much monies may have been bagged to ensure that all the damning atrocities in the agency are buried without leaving toxic wastage dangerous to the health of the nation.

Prof Lawrence Dim shaking hands with Buhari...yet breaching the Consititution
Prof Lawrence Dim shaking hands with Buhari…yet breaching the Constitution

Above the law: If Senate can document and demand for account of how the agency utilised N367million, being 75% of its internally generated revenue in 2017, without National Assembly approval, then where are we? The Red Chambers also rejected the 2018 budget proposal of the Authority, on the grounds that its budget estimates was not accompanied with the projected IGR for next year. This was the outcome of the 2018 budget defence of NNRA before the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream).

In his budget presentation, Director General, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), Lawrence Anikwe Dim, admitted that out of the N490million generated in 2017, 25% was paid into Treasury Single Account (TSA), while the remaining N367million was spent by the Authority. Whereas, the law says, put all income into TSA.

This presentation did not go down well with senators as they accused the NNRA of violating the Constitution.

A member of the committee, Andrew Uchendu (PDP, Rivers State), said the panel cannot continue with budget defence if the amount is not properly accounted for.

“If the amount the Director General was referring to was not captured in your budget performance for 2017, then how do we proceed with budget defence for 2018, if that huge sum has not been accounted for in your budget performance?

History of not accounting for funds established: Then we have not started budget defence. “You are coming for budget defence. And that amount of money was generated and utilised. And you didn’t think it was necessary to account for it. We have had some experience with them over the last 12 years. And this type of situation has always arisen and it is not acceptable at all.”

Also speaking, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Baba Kaka Garbai (APC, Borno State), pointed out that any amount internally generated must have the approval of the National Assembly before utilisation.

He said: “What you have done without approval is an infraction of the existing laws guiding public expenditure”.

Another member of the panel, Clifford Ordia (PDP, Edo State) spoke in the same vein.

An attempt by the Chairman of the Committee, Tayo Alasaodura (APC, Ondo State), to give the NNRA soft landing by submitting that the Authority be pardoned, was rebuffed by his vice, Gershom Bassey (PDP, Cross River) who insisted that this would amount to a cover up. We clearly have a case of constitutional breach,” he said.

www.gongnews.net can with authority restate the badly managed organisation will not be able, except it manipulates figures, for the N367million in question which the Senate is asking for.

Several illegal employment of staffers not envisaged in the 2017 budget were done to cover up these sums without due diligence nor approval from the supervising Ministry.

Nigerians would be very interested in the outcome of the petition against the Director General before the ICPC. At the same time, we shall follow up the CCB which has given the agency a new date for 9th and 12th February to appear before her for their investigation.

Will the Senate overlook all these like its chairman, Tayo Alasaodura (APC, Ondo State) had pleaded? Will the oversight function of the Senate ‘cooperate’ with a deliberate and criminal rape of the Constitution having found out, known that there were breaches? Will these not amount to aiding and abetting the commission of a crime?

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