2014 budget: Reps declare permanent secretary unfit to hold office

The House of Representatives yesterday declared the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Taye Haruna, unfit to hold his exalted office.

Haruna incurred the wrath of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Environment, which is chaired by Mrs. Uche Ekwunife, for allegedly presenting the 2014 budget estimates of the ministry in a “shabby” manner.

Some members asked how he managed to become a permanent secretary when he could not prepare and present the ministry’s budget in a way that anybody could read and easily understand.

Haruna had circulated the budget documents to members to study and make observations.

However, after going through the copies for a few minutes, the lawmakers started berating him over “shabby presentation.”

Ekwunife was the first to complain over the content of the documents, as she asked Haruna if he thought the committee invited him to come and behave in a comical manner.

She stated, “We are not here for a joke. This is a very serious affair.

“We are talking about a very serious ministry, and we are having these scattered documents?

“For goodness sake, what is this? Taye is not the only permanent secretary in the Federation.”

One member from Adamawa State, Mr. Titsi Ganama, who expressed doubts whether Haruna went to  school, asked  the permanent secretary to read out his academic qualifications.

Apparently embarrassed, Haruna informed the lawmaker that he was a “first class citizen” of Nigeria.

He said, “I am a first class citizen of this country and a chartered accountant of 27 years. I left the university over 30 years ago.

“I have had a lot of experience; so I have the capacity to be where I am today.”

His response earned him more scolding from a member from Rivers State, Mr. Sekonte Davies, who wondered how an accountant could not present financial documents to a committee.

Davies noted, “You have not shown any confidence of a permanent secretary because there is nothing in this document.

“In my opinion, we should allow the minister to make his brief on the 2014 budget and set up a committee to investigate this man.”

Another member from Enugu State, Mr. Pat Asadu, observed that he had always known Haruna not to be serious with the committee.

“The ministry is embedded in corruption, and I didn’t expect anything more than this. I believe this document is to hide the level of corruption in the ministry. I suggest we sit down and investigate contracts awarding processes in the ministry and the allegations against the permanent secretary and other directors,” Asadu said.

The committee later resolved to investigate Haruna for alleged corrupt practices.

Ekwunife ruled, “There are certain things we can’t sweep under the carpet. Your permanent secretary is under investigation for all the allegations made against him. Clerk, write to Mr. President and Head of Service that Taye is under investigation.”

 

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