Reps Committee Alleges DBI Keeps N1.2Bn Secret Account, Calls For Audit
The House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications has threatened to sanction Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, the director, Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), for alleged violating the federal government’s policy on the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
This, the Reps Committee, said, was as a result of alleged disbursement of over N1.2 billion for capital projects and procurement without following due process.
While questioning Adinde during its oversight function visit to DBI, the members of the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications told Adinde that not paying DBI funds into the TSA implied that “you’re running foul of financial regulation,” as ”every government agency remits their funds into the TSA”.
Adinde responded that the practice at DBI has been the maintenance of only one operational account with a commercial bank, adding that, “The practice I met here, we operate only one account with a commercial bank and I and the Director of Finance are signatories to the account.”
Speaking on behalf of the Committee, Hon Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, its chairman, said the Committee discovered the financial discrepancy when its members paid an oversight visit to the headquarters of the learning centre in Abuja.
The House of Representatives further declared that: “You have been here since 2015, and the regulation started around 2015/2106. In 2017, you are still paying into a commercial bank, which is contrary to the laid down rules and regulations”.
The Committee accused the Management of DBI of violating the TSA policy of the federal government and for other alleged financial discrepancies.
Honourable Akinade-Fijabi berated the DBI for flaunting the government’s financial regulation and said the committee would invite Adinde for further questioning.
The lawmakers questioned the Management of DBI over the disbursements of over N1.2bn it recorded for capital projects and procurement in the 2016 budget.
Specifically, the Committee asked Adinde to clarify the official relationship between the DBI and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and also requested for a comprehensive audit of DBI’s account in the last five years.
Aside requesting the DBI director to provide the nominal roll and list of trainees who have enrolled in the DBI in the past, the Committee said the era of “running DBI like a private business outfit was over for good”.
Honourable Akinade-Fijabi said the team was not out to witch-hunt the Management of the DBI but was only performing its constitutional role as lawmakers.
However, Adinde explained that the DBI had not executed any capital expenditure or procurement on its own but had rather relied on the NCC to execute such projects.
According to Adinde, the Management of the DBI is not in a position to answer questions on capital projects or procurement as the NCC owns DBI.
The Committee therefore said Adinde would be invited to the National Assembly to provide an overview of DBI’s internationally generated revenue [IGR] for the past five years, details of audited account for the same period, and DBI’s nominal roll among other details.