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N7.5bn secret withdrawal: Finance ministry shocks Senate

The Federal Ministry of Finance, yesterday, shocked Senators when it told the lawmakers that it was not in possession  of relevant documents that should have been domiciled in the ministry.

 

The Senate had, last week, given the Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and Office of National Security Adviser till yesterday, to give explanation on alleged “secret withdrawal of N7.5 billion from the two per cent National Automotive Council Design and Development Council (NADDC) Levy Account domiciled with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

 

However, a Director from the Ministry, Mr. Teslim Akintoye, who represented the Permanent Secretary, Aliyu Ahmed, told the Public Accounts  Committee that the Ministry of Finance was not in possession of documents related to that transaction, saying, “we don’t have any document to show for that transaction.”

 

This, however, did not  go down well with the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, who countered the representative of the ministry, challenging him that the approval was done in the Ministry of Finance. Supporting the position of the chairman, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Hassan Hadejia, asked,

 

“Are you telling us that there is no document in the ministry to show for it, but everything emanated from your ministry?” The chairman also added, “You don’t appear before the Senate when you don’t have anything to say.”

 

The representative of the Office of Accountant- General of Federation, Alexandra Adeyemi, however, confirmed that the money in question was released and it was going to be recovered through budgetary process.

 

However, the Office of Accountant-General of the Federation failed to present the list of beneficiaries of the fund in question, a part of which was earmarked for car loans to security officers.

The committee said it was able to establish that the fund was withdrawn without involvement of the National Automotive Council Design and Development Council, but that after some years, the agency was notified.

 

After heated debate on the matter, the committee resolved to dig deeper into the secret withdrawal of N7.5 billion because there was no evidence that the money was paid back into the Federation Account.

 

According to the chairman, “We are going to look deeper into the matter, we have to give ample time into this matter, and 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.

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