Indications have emerged that the House of Representatives may commence probe of alleged illegal deductions of area councils’ allocations by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), following complaints by area council chairmen.
The councils’ chairmen had complained to the House Committee on Area Councils and Ancillary Matters during their oversight functionsthat the deductions by the FCTA were responsible for their inability to deliver on projects execution.
It was gathered that another target of the probe by the House may probe is the N800 million liability of the Federal Capital Territory Universal Basic Education Board.
At the end of the tour of the area councils and other agencies in the Federal Capital Territory Administration, committee members resolved that the issue of statutory deductions of area councils fund should not be treated with levity, even as they also resolved that the committee would summon the Minister of State for the FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, who presides over the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC), to explain in details how the deductions are made.
Vice Chairman of the committee, Hon. Khamisu Mailantarki, who ruled on the resolution passed by members during a visit to FCT Universal Basic Education Board to climax its oversight function, noted that the issue of statutory deductions had become a recurring decimal in all the areas visited without corresponding development in those areas.
Committee members were shocked to note that the funds being deducted by the FCTA were not remitted to the relevant agencies for disbursement rather the funds are domiciled in an unspecified account of the administration.
They observed that out of N2.7 billion appropriated for the board in 2013 budget, it had recorded zero implementation of the 2013 budget due to none release of funds.
In one of the agencies visited, a member of the committee, Hon. Ahmed Idris, noted with dissatisfaction the huge amount of money claimed to have been deducted from the council’s funds without meaningful development at the rural areas.
Idris stated: “My colleagues, this is a serious issue on our hands. In all the places visited, this issue of deductions kept resurfacing. Before now, we were told that there were no deductions made by the FCT Administration. But the story we hear in all the areas visited is different.
“We keep hearing of JAAC where billions of naira are being deducted from Area Council funds without commiserate development in the areas where the funds should be used for development.
“We are going to invite whoever is responsible for this JAAC and explain to us how these funds are utilized for the benefit of the people we represent. If possible, we will organise Public Hearing on this matter,” Idris stated.