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House Of Reps Probe Agric Ministry Over N18.9bn Spent On Bush Clearing



The House of Representatives is investigating the Ministry of Agriculture for awarding contracts worth about N18.9bn to several companies to clear bushes during the COVID-19 lockdown.

House Of Reps Probe Agric Ministry Over N18bn Spent On Bush Clearing

Reps Probe Agric Ministry

The Chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts, Oluwole Oke, at the investigative hearing on Tuesday, said the contracts were awarded to the companies for bush clearing, land preparation and rehabilitation of soil and plant laboratories.

The committee is probing queries raised by the office of the auditor-general of the federation on ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Oke said, “During the lockdown of the country as a result of COVID-19, some companies took contracts worth about N18 billion for bush clearing from the federal ministry of agriculture for land preparation, rehabilitation of soil plant lab and others. We cannot shave their head in their absence.

“So, we have invited them to come and give us their own side by responding to the issues and showing us the places they are supposed to have cleared. They have to take us to the land they cleared.

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“We have invited the ministry of agriculture and they have made a submission. But some of our members whose constituencies these projects were supposed to be domiciled doubted the existence of these projects and for a fair hearing, we have invited the companies that got the contract for them to come and tell this committee where and when the jobs were executed.

“We will wait till the end of the hearing today to see if they will appear. If they are not here, we will have to do the needful to get them to come.”

The invited firms were, however, conspicuously absent at the hearing without any reason for their non-appearance.

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