The Senator Gbenga Obadara (APC-Ogun) led committee raised eyebrows over the non-remittance of the funds while the Bureau was defending its 2014 budget estimates before the committee.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), a member of the committee Senator Barnabas Gemade (PDP-Benue) said the act was illegal and unacceptable.
“It is very disheartening and wrong that N23 billion is still lingering in accounts within the BPE from proceeds of privatised agencies. “This is illegal as the monies are supposed to be remitted as soon as they come in.”
The chairman of the committee, Obadara asked the BPE to make available to the committee evidence for any remittance made to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). “We want to see the documentation of the remittances since you have said six point something is ready to be paid.
“Give us that one, then we start looking at the remaining N18 billion,” he said. The committee also asked that proceeds from the sold enterprises which had not been remitted to the CBN should be used to settle the outstanding liabilities owed Nigerians.
The committee noted that some of these Nigerians were seriously languishing in poverty just as others had already died. The committee also summoned the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla, to appear before it on March 13 for further clarifications.
In his response, the Director-General of BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki told the committee that the N23 billion was in the custody of the Bureau. Dikki added that plans had been concluded to remit about N6 billion to the Federation Account.
He thanked the committee for taking the resolution to use the unremitted funds from the sold enterprises be used to pay Nigerians as some of those owed had been picketing the bureau. It was gathered that the total budget estimates for the bureau for 2014 is about N2.2billion.