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Reps turn back Jega over poor documentations

By Rotimi Akinwumi, Snr Correspondent, Abuja

The much expected probe of finances of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was cut short on Wednesday as INEC Chairman, Prof Atahiru Jega, and his supporting staff could not provide answers to questions raised by the committee.

The inability of INEC to providing acceptable answers to the committee was occasioned by non-presentation of required documents for verification as demanded by the committee.

The committee had earlier threatened Jega with arrest following his failure to appear before the committee to answer queries raised by Auditor General of the Federation on audited accounts of the commission for 2003 up to 2011.

The committee had said two week ago that Jega had spurned invitations to appear before it five consecutive times.

However, following the threat of arrest, Jega wrote to the committee and pleaded that his inability to honour the invitations was due to his tight schedule, and that it should not been seen as a sign of disrespect to the committee and the House of Representatives in general.

Signs of what to expect during the interactive session manifested as soon as Jega took his seat to answer questions, as the committee openly derided the response provided for the queries raised on the 2003 audited report of the commission.

The Solomon Adeola Olamilekan-led committee went further to step down all the queries raised against the commission over what it described as improper and poor documentations, which is bound to prevent the commission from giving reasonable answers to the queries.

The commission also displayed inability to produce its fixed asset register over the years, leading the committee to direct Jega to go back and put his house in order and to re-appear at a later day.

The INEC boss however admitted that the commission has no fixed asset register as being requested by the committee, but that efforts are in progress to correct the anomalies of record keeping at the commission.

The committee later dissolved into an executive session with Jega to discuss sensitive matters concerning the administration of the commission.

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