Ministry of Finance in a mess as it fails to defend N7.5b Illegal withdrawal from CBN
***Illegal Transaction to test the will of Buhari’s anti corruption fight says senate panel
Apparently piqued by the inability of the ministry of finance to defend the illegal withdrawal of N7.5b from the Central bank account, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts (SPAC) Matthew Urhoghide has threatened thorough investigation.
He also pointed out that the fraud would be used to test the will of the President on anti-corruption fight.
This was as the permanent Secretary of the ministry of finance, Aliyu Ahmed who was represented by a director in the ministry Teslim Akintoye, could not account for how the withdrawals were made.
Members of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts were bewildered when the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance, Aliyu Ahmed said the Ministry is not in possession of the documents related to the Ministry on N7.5b secret withdrawal.
The Senate had last week asked the Ministry of Finance, Office of Accountant General of the Federation and Office of National Security Adviser to appear to give explanation on alleged “secret withdrawal of N7.5 billion from the 2 percent National Automotive Council Design and Development Council (NADDC) Levy Account domiciled with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The permanent secretary said the office of the Accountant General would have to liaise with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to get the record of officers who got the loan.
Urhoghide had indicated that the committee demanded the attention of the Ministry of Finance, Accountant General of the Federation and that of the NADDC to appear before the committee to explain their side of the illegal withdrawal and spending of the N7.5bn of the NADDC account.
He maintained that the money was not an amount that could be swept under the carpet especially when the transaction had reached its maturation.
He pointed out that the defunct NAFCON was sold with liabilities and the ministry of finance which handled it worked with Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to sell NAFCON why they are not paid back.
He told the permanent Secretary that the ministry may have to adopt the submission of the office of Auditor General since his office has no evidence of the transactions.
Senator Urhoghide further stated that from the documents available to the committee all transactions emanated from the Ministry of Finance wandering why they would come to the parliament to say they dont not have anything to say.’
Supporting the position of the chairman, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Hassan Hadejia asked rhetorically, “Are you telling us that no document in the Ministry to show for it, everything emanated from your Ministry.”
The Chairman also added, ” You don’t appear before Senate when you don’t have anything to say .”
The representative of Office of Accountant General of Federation , Alexandra Adeyemi however confirmed that the money in question was released and it is going to be recovered through budgetary process .
But, the Office of Accountant general of the Federation failed to present the list of beneficiaries of the fund in question which was part of the ammount earmarked for car loans to Security Officers.
The Committee was able to establish that the fund was withdrawn without involvement of National Automotive Council Design and Development Council (NADDC), but after some years , the agency was notified .
After a heated debate on the matter, the Committee resolved to dig deeper into the secret withdrawal of N7.5 billion because there is no evidence that the money was paid back into Federation Account.
According to the chairman, “We are going to look the deeper into the matter, we have to give ample time into this matter, we must do proper status on it, to let Nigerians know what is going on., We want to see what the President is going to do about this colossal fraud.
The Committee further resolved that a full blown public hearing may be done on the issue.
He recalled that ‘The illegal withdrawal was to fund car loans through a blatant withdrawal and the committee knows that all documents are in the office of the accountant general.
Senator, Ibrahim Danbaba, representing Sokoto South said the ministry of finance does not take the Senate panel serious “I think this institutions are just playing with us. In this letter that was addressed to your ministry, we asked the accountant general to respond through your ministry.
“Unless you are adopting the response of the accountant General, we understand the loans have not been paid and you are saying nothing” Danbaba said.
The query had stated that, “A total sum of N3,836,000,000.00 (Three billion, eight hundred and thirty-six million naira) was irregularly withdrawn from the 2% National Automotive Council Levy Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja in 2 installments of N2,800,000,000 (in 2005) and N1,036,000,000.00 (in 2006) by the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Finance as car loan to be granted for the Security Personnel Car Purchase Scheme Loan,” was raised last week.
Senator Seriake Dickson condemns, calls for cessation of all forms of attacks on the Police
The Senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Henry Seriake Dickson, has called for cessation of all forms of attacks on the police as he condemned the series of attacks on police formations in the country.
The immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State spoke when he paid a solidarity visit on the Inspector-General of Police, Ag. IGP Usman Alkali Baba.
The senator unequivocally condemned the attacks and called for a cessation of all such criminal acts.
Dickson said he was at the Force Headquarters to solidarize with the IGP and the entire police family on the account of the dastardly and criminal acts of terrorism, unprovoked and coordinated attacks on Police.
He also condemned the murder of innocent police officers and malicious damage of security assets and other Government infrastructure in some parts of the country.
He said the Police is not the problem of the nation and should not be seen as the enemy of the people.
The Senator, while congratulating the IGP on his appointment as the 21st indigenous Inspector General of Police, called for proper funding of the Force to enhance its operational efficiency.
He commended Police men and women for doing their best in the face of daunting welfare and operational challenges.
The IGP, in his response, thanked the Senator for his visit as he assured him and the Nigerian people that in spite of the numerous challenges the Nigeria Police is facing, it would remain committed and unwavering in its task of protecting lives and property.
NDLEA arrests Ex-vice chairman of Lagos Island East (LCDA) with 1kg of cocain
Ex-vice chairman of Lagos Island East Local Council Development Area, (LCDA) Asekun Kehinde Sakiru, has been apprehended by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) with 1kg of cocain concealed in five pairs of palm slippers packed inside his suitcase.
He was nabbed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos
Asekun, has been on the wanted list of the agency following the recent arrest of some traffickers and drug seizures linked to him.
Director, Media and Advocacy of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, said in a statement on Wednesday, that the long arm of the law caught up with the ex-council boss at about 9.40pm on Friday, May 7, while trying to board a Virgin Atlantic airline flight to London, United Kingdom at the Lagos airport.
Babafemi added that the suspect had been on the wanted list of the MMIA Command of the agency in connection to a case involving one Azeez Adeniyi Ibrahim who was arrested with 6.45kg of cocaine in December, 2020.
“During preliminary investigation, it was gathered that the London based baron is a seasoned politician. He was at different times between 2004 and 2014 the vice chairman of Lagos Island East LCDA. He had also contested and lost elections for House of Representatives in 2007 and Lagos State House of Assembly in 2015.
Although, he claims to be an international businessman who deals in automobiles, investigation is yet to confirm that to be the source of his acquired wealth.
“In the course of tracking him, the sum of N131million was seized from his account and another N14 million also blocked in the account of one of his traffickers, Azeez Adeniyi Ibrahim, bringing the total sum so far recovered from him to N145 million”, part of the statement read.
While commending the officers and men of the MMIA Command of the agency for resilience and dedication to duty, Chairman of the NDLEA, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), said with the support of all stakeholders, the problem of drug trafficking and abuse in Nigeria will be drastically reduced very soon.
“This arrest is yet another message and red alert to those still in this criminal trade whether as barons or traffickers that they will soon enter the dragnet of the Agency, daily being spread across the country, if they fail to back out especially now that we are moving all out for the barons and the big cartels while we continue to reign in the traffickers”, Gen. Marwa warned
Insecurity will soon fizzle out, says IGP
The Inspector-General of Police, Ag. IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has admitted that the nation’s security ecosystem is being challenged, but restated his belief that the nation will soon overcome its security challenges.
He reassured the citizens that the Force under his new policing vision is already implementing new, improved, tailored-to-suit and robust security solutions aimed at tackling crimes and neutralizing both existing and emerging security threats in the country.
He spoke as he ordered a nationwide deployment of police officers and other operational assets of the Force for water-tight security ahead of the 2021 Eid-el-Fitr celebration and beyond.
His order was contained in a directive to Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs), Commissioners of Police (CPs) and other strategic commanders of the Force as part of efforts by the Police leadership toward stabilizing security, improving public safety and making the country a safer place for all citizens.
The IGP, further noted that the Force is equally upscaling its collaboration with the military and other law enforcement agencies in both intelligence sharing and other target-oriented missions and operations. He enjoined citizens to support the Police to stage a common front in tackling the challenges.
In addition, the IGP reminded the citizens of the newly introduced Phase-4 National Response on COVID-19 Health Protection Regulation and called for voluntary compliance with the protocols. He equally directed Commissioners of Police in all the States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to ensure full enforcement of the Protocols. He however warned that Police officers deployed for such enforcement must do so with utmost professionalism, while exhibiting compassion, decorum and due respect for the fundamental rights of the citizens.
Meanwhile, the IGP, on behalf of the entire officers of the Nigeria Police Force, congratulated all Muslim faithful in the country as they join the Muslim Ummah across the globe to mark this year’s Eid-el-Fitr. He urged them to internalize the virtues and teachings of Ramadan in their day-to-day endeavours and admonished all Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of obedience to the laws of the land and the pursuit of common good.
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