Senate probes FIIRO’s alleged extra budgetary spending

The Senate Committee on Science and Technology has commenced investigation into the budgetary expenditure of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi Lagos.

FIIRO is being probed over the procurement of an Integrated Cassava Processing Plant in Nkalagu, Ebonyi State.

The panel took the decision when it pointed out an alleged discrepancy in the N60m expenditure in the budgetary allocation for the procurement of the cassava plant project.

The figure was presented by the acting Director-General of FIIRO, Dr Agnes Asagbra, at an interactive session with the Senate panel on Tuesday in Abuja.

Asagbra said N60m was appropriated for the plant while only N49m was expended.

She did not give further explanation about the balance.

Not satisfied by the variation, the chairman of the committee, Senator Uche Ekwunife, asked one of her members, Senator Obinna Ogba, to investigate the discrepancy and report back to the committee.

Ekwunife berated the acting DG over the discrepancy.

She said, “This your submission is deceitful. We are setting up an ad hoc committe to be chaired by Senator Obinna Ogba.

“You will give us all the details of the project, the date of the award from beginning, how much has been paid and the balance.”

Ogba and three other members of the panel were mandated to determine the date of the award of the contract, how much was expended and the balance.

The Federal Government inaugurated the Nkalagu Cassava Processing Plant in 2019 to generate employment for youths and women in the state.

The government projection was that the factory would produce starch, garri, cassava flour, mushroom, glue gum, among others.