The Public Accounts Committee, PAC, of the House of Representatives on Tuesday questioned the management of the Higher Education Trust Fund over the disbursement of the N250 billion sum which was subtitled “Grant”. , as shown in its audited financial report for the year ended. December 31, 2019 based on the audit request from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
The agency’s management which was led by its Director of Finance and Administration, Dr. Gloria Olotu, at the investigative hearing held to consider issues raised on its annual report by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, revealed that the new Executive Secretary, Sonny Echono was not available to attend the session due to unforeseen circumstances.
Taking the floor, committee chairman Busayo Oluwole Oke disapproved of the absence of the new executive secretary for not honoring the parliament’s invitation, saying the former executive secretary of the Agency had only appeared before him. only once and had warned that it would not. no longer be tolerated.
He said the agency, like other MDAs, was being convened in the spirit of a fair hearing to defend itself against matters raised against it by the office of the Federation’s Auditor General.
He also pointed out that the agency should prove beyond a reasonable doubt why it should not be sanctioned for unpaid taxes, other deductions and undisclosed reserves totaling N345.02 million during the period considered.
He added that the agency should squarely address the issue of irregularities in the agency’s disclosure of aid and grants as contained in the AuGF report totaling an additional eight billion naira.
In response, TETFUND’s Director of Finance, Dr. Gloria Olotu, explained that what appeared to be non-payment of taxes and other deductions was due to the fact that these deductions were usually made in December of each year and remitted. in January of the following year.
She added that the N250 billion categorized as grants in the audit query was wrong because the amount represented part of the agency’s non-statutory operating funds raised from the 5% administrative fee that its law of administration. institution allows him to spend from the school tax.
She agreed that until now the agency had problems with correctly classifying the various funds it had under the correct headings, but that the problem had been solved over time.
The chair of the committee, however, insisted on relevant documents to support her assertions, demanding among other things TETFUND’s budgets for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020, her revenue forecasts for the same period as well as the corroboration of the Federal Inland Service Commission. , FIRS, that such tax deductions were actually made and paid into the coffers of the State.
Oke also requested the new executive secretary of TETFUND to appear before the committee, after being fully briefed by the agency’s senior staff, as requested by the agency’s representative.
He therefore ordered the agency to appear before the Committee by Tuesday next week for further questioning.