The House of Representatives yesterday disagreed with the Ministry of Finance over the procedure adopted in the payment of N2.8billion to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 2017 by the Nigerian government. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House led by Hon. Wole Oke (PDP, Osun) argued that the minister could not have released such a huge amount of money without recourse to the President.
The House was responding to a presentation by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Aliyu Ahmed, who said approval from the Presidency for such sum would be apt. “Probably an approval from Mr President from FEC for this large sums of money would have been apt. Your submissions are apt. We know where the money is coming from and where it went to. What we are saying and for the Auditor- General to have raised it, there must have been an issue,” he said. He insisted that in the future, the ministry should obtain a memo and presidential approval before taking such amounts.
“For a minister to dip her hands into the treasury for whatever purposes and take N2.8 billion is not friendly. The expenditure was a right cause. It was a responsibility that we undertook to bear but just the procedure. Maybe a memo! It was not procedural. Until this act is amended, your minister is still the chief procurer. What would it cost her to take a memo to FEC to get approval?” he said.