THE House of Representatives committee on Telecommunications at the weekend resolved to probe the activities of the management of Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), an agency under the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, over the years for allegedly operating on its own contrary to the laid down rules and regulations.
The Committee Chaired by Hon Saheed Akinade-Fijabi made this known at the weekend when members paid an oversight visit to the Corporate Headquarters of the Institute in Abuja
The Committee accused the management of the Institute of not complying with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the federal government and other alleged financial discrepancies in the Agency
It also questioned the management of the Institute over the disbursements of over N1.2bn recorded in the Agency for capital projects and procurement in the 2016 budget.
The committee particularly queried the Administrator of the Institute (DBI) Dr Ikechukwu Adinde over unclear terms of official relationship with the Nigerian Telecommunications Commission (NCC), thereby demanded a comprehensive audit of DBI’s account in the last five years.
The Committee therefore directed the Administrator of the Agency to provide it with the nominal role and the list of trainees who enrolled with the Institute over the years saying that the Era of running the Institute like a private business outfit was over for good.
The Chairman if the Committee made it known to the management of the Institute that the members were not out to witch hunt anybody but only performing their constitutional roles as lawmakers
However while responding to questions from the lawmakers, the Administrator of the Institute revealed that the Institute had not complied with the TSA policy and that DBI only operated an account with a commercial bank.
According to him, “We don’t pay our money into TSA that is 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”.
He also explained that the Institute did not carry-out any capital expenditure or procurement on its own, but rely on its parent body he National Commissions Commission (NCC) for such projects.
According to Adinde, management of the Institute is not in any position to answer question on capital projects or procurement and the NCC owns the Institute
“I think it is important to communicate this, DBI has a board, which I am a member, but the board of NCC takes strategic decision about DBI, but I am not a member of the NCC board. We don’t implement capital projects, we do not procure equipment’s, and we only make request for supplies to the NCC
Akinade-Fijabi who berated DBI for flaunting the government’s financial regulation, said the committee would invite Adinde for further questioning.
According to the lawmaker, “I need to observe that not paying your money into the TSA shows that you’re running fowl of financial regulation, which is very important. Every organisation of government pay their money into the TSA and you have been here since 2015, and the regulation started around 2015/2106 and till today, you are still paying into a commercial bank, it is against the regulation
“Administrator, we will still need to invite you to come to the National Assembly, with a the documents requested like your detailed internationally generated revenue for the past five years, detailed audited account in the last five years, your nominal role, which is very important, list of trainees with government funds and list of self-sponsored trainees, all your fillings to the CAC and your procurement request sent to NCC, entitlement of your board your article of association and organogram as communicated to you earlier
“We are aware that your budget comes through the NCC, and we have dealing with NCC, our visit here is still part of our oversight function and it is a work in progress.”