By Ekemini SIMON
NATHANIEL Adiakpan, permanent secretary, Akwa Ibom State Government House, has explained why the government house posted N1.3 billion as expenditure for fuel and lubricants for the 2019 fiscal year.
According to the permanent secretary, the reason for the expenditure was because the government house relied exclusively on electricity generated by heavy generating sets, saying that the Hiltop Mansion was not connected to national grid.
“Government House does not enjoy the benefit of the national grid. Government House is not structured to work on power source that is not stable. So, we use the fuel to generate 24 hours electricity through heavy generating sets”, he said.
The permanent secretary made this known on Monday during the investigative hearing held on controversies surrounding the 2019 Annual Report of the Accountant General with audited financial statements for the year ended 31st December, 2019.
The State House of Assembly on December 8, 2020, had constituted a four-man committee to investigate issues in the report and report back to the House within a month.
At the hearing, Adiakpan noted that besides the expenses made on fuel for electricity generation, several other vehicles including security vehicles used fuel from the government house fuel dump.
In our earlier Investigative report, we had said that, “Our findings revealed that the Akwa Ibom State Government House fuel dump managed by Mr Udo Ekwere receives and uses five trucks of 45,000 litres of fuel (premium motor spirit) every two months and 10 trucks of 45,000 litres of diesel (automative gas oil) for the same period.”
In the report, we had also noted that “Five trucks of PMS amount to 225,000 litres, meaning that 1,350,000 litres would be bought for the year. PMS was sold at N145 per litres in 2019. Thus, 1,350,000 litres would be bought at the cost of N195,750,000.
“For diesel (automative gas oil), 10 trucks of 45,000 litres amounting to N450,000 (2,700,000 litres) would be bought for the year. The average pump price for diesel in 2019 was N220 per litres. Thus, in a year, the projected cost of 2,700,000 litres of AGS will be N594 million.
“Hence the total cost of PMS and diesel utilised for one year should amount to N689,750,000.”
Further checks by this reporter into the 2015 financial statement of the state indicated that out of N1 billion budgeted for the item, N791.648 million was posted as expenditure.
In 2016, N1 billion was posted as expenditure which was the same amount budgeted for the fiscal year.
In 2017 and 2018, the amount budgeted rose to N1.3 billion in the two fiscal years, remaining the same in 2019.
When asked by the ad-hoc committee of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to give explanation on the N12 billion posted as expenses for ‘State Security Service Expense,’ the permanent secretary said he could not speak on the issue.
Udo Kierian, chairman of the committee, reminded the permanent secretary that the issue was already in public, stressing the need for an explanation from the Executive. But this did not yield any result.
Adiakpan replied, “Security everywhere is a coded venture. It is not what you talk freely.”
Kierian, while adjourning the hearing, noted that the public hearing would continue on a date to be announced on the media in order to give opportunity for affected government officials to address questions and memos submitted to the committee.