N7.5bn secret withdrawal: Senate summons minister, Accountant General

By Peter Usman//:

Senate Committee on Public Accounts, has summoned the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed and the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris over alleged secret withdrawal of N7.5 billion from the two percent National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, levy account domiciled with Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

According to the report of the Auditor-General for the Federation, AuGF, which is being considered by the committee, chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide, the first N3.8 billion was withdrawn in two installments of N2.8 billion in 2005 and N1 billion in 2006.

It added that the second time, N3.7 billion was withdrawn between March and December 2000 in three separate payments of N725 million, N1 billion and N2 billion. 

When the committee chairman asked the Director General of NADDC, Aliyu Jelani about the withdrawal, he said the money was withdrawn without the knowledge of the agency.

He said the agency has been writing to the Accountant General and the Minister of Finance on the need to refund the money but there was no response.

Displeased by the development, the committee therefore resolved to summon the minister and the Accountant General to give explanation on the fund. 

The AuGF had in a query stated: “A total sum of N3,836,000,000.00 (Three billion, eight hundred and thirty-six million naira) was irregularly withdrawn from the 2% National Automotive Council Levy Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja in 2 installments of N2,800,000,000 (in 2005) and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.

“The transaction was carried out by the Presidency in collaboration with the Bank of Industry, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General of the Federation without the involvement of NAC, the account owner.

“However the principal and the accrued interest from the fictitious loan have not been paid back nor are records available on the beneficiaries, agreement documents, moratorium, duration of the loan, the yearly interest rates accruable and how the fund will be paid back by the beneficiary. 

“The Director General has been requested to intensify correspondence with the Honourable Minister of Finance, Accountant-General of the Federation and the Presidency to recover the fund (loan).”

On the N3.7 billion, the report said the sum was “irregularly withdrawn from the 2% National Automotive Council Levy Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria between March-December 2000 in 3 separate payments of N725,000,000; N1,000,000,000 and N2,000,000,000 as ‘loan’ to NAFCON vide the Accountant General of the Federation internal memo to the Permanent Secretary, Budget Office of the Federation Ref No: DD/(R&F)22.Vol. 1158 of 27/5/2003.

“The loan principal and the accumulated interest are yet to be paid since the year 2000.”

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