Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Aliyu Ahmed told the Senate yesterday that the Ministry was not in possession documents related to the Ministry 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). Recall that the Senate had last week given the Ministry of Finance, Office of Accountant General of the Federation and Office of National Security Adviser till this week Tuesday 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 PermanentSecretary who spoke through a Director from the Ministry, Mr Teslim Akintoye when he appeared before the Senator Matthew Urhoghide, led Senate Committee on Public Accounts said that the Ministry of Finance was not in possession of documents related to that transaction,adding, “we don’t have any document to show for that transaction.” The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Urhoghide however countered the representative of the Ministry 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 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,” On his part, the representative of Office of Accountant General of Federation , Alexandra Adeyemi confirmed that the money in question was released and it was going to be recovered through budgetary process. But, The Office of Accountant of the Federation failed to present the list of beneficiaries of the fund in question as part which was 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 The Committee was able to establish that the fund was withdrawn without involvement of National Automotive Council Design and Development Council (NADDC), but after some years, the agency was notified.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 heated debate on the matter, the Committee resolved to carry out a holistic investigation into the secret withdrawal of N7.5 billion because there was no evidence that the money was paid back into Federation Account.
The Chairman of the Committee, Urhoghide said, “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. The query had read, “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’).”