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Reps Panel probes N18.6 bn allegedly spent by Ministry of Agriculture on bush clearing, land preparation & others

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has commenced an investigation into N18.6 billion allegedly spent on bush clearing and land preparation by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2020.

The Chairman of the Committee, Oluwole Oke (PDP, Osun), said this was discovered during an investigative hearing. He stated that investigations showed the money was spent between 2013 and 2021 on bush clearing, land preparation, and rehabilitation of soil and plant laboratories. He stated that the money was withdrawn from service wide vote of the ministry.

Oke stated that the representative of the Ministry had appeared before the committee but that members of the committee were not satisfied with the explanation provided by the ministry.

“We invited the Ministry of Agriculture and they have made submission. But some of our members whose constituencies these projects were supposed to be domiciled doubted the existence of these projects.

For fair hearing, we have invited the companies that got the contract for them to come and tell this committee where and when the jobs were executed” Oke said

He noted that if the companies fail to appear before the committee, the lawmakers will use all available means to compel them to do so. Oke did not disclose the affected firms and the date they are to appear before the panel.

The Public Account Committee, which is a constitutional committee, is saddled with the responsibility of oversight of the Auditor General’s report.

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