03 April 2014, Abuja – Officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Budget Office Wednesday traded blame on the N59.6 billion service wide vote said to have been unaccounted for since September 2006.
The House of Representatives Public Account Committee (PAC) had on Tuesday summoned the Accountant General of the Federation,(AGF), Mr. Jonah Otunla, acting Governor of the CBN, Sarah Alade and the Executive Director of Finance, NNPC to appear before it to explain their various roles in the alleged ‘missing’ vote.
Otunla and Alade didn’t show up. But officials from the respective agencies failed to give appropriate answers to the issues raised by the committee as they could not provide authentic and verifiable documents to substantiate the claims their respective institutions made.
Aliyu said the money was never released to it as claimed, although the corporation requested for a letter of clearance from the Budget Office on the release. According to him, the request was turned down.
But the OAGF presented a photocopy of an unsigned letter indicating the non-release of the money and return of same.
The original of the document was missing from its correspondence file.
Ms. Fatima Nanamade, Director of Finance and Accounts in the OAGF explained that, “the letter actually emanated from the OAGF but the original copy of the (authority to incur expenditure)-AIE, is with the Budget Office”.
On the part of the Budget Office, the Director Expenditure, Stella Toluwase told the committee that the original AIE request sent to the OAGF was never returned as claimed as the office does not have it in their record.
She however said that the photocopy they came with was discovered after searching through the office archives following the demand by the Committee to see the document.
Reacting, the committee chairman, Hon. Olamilekan Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos), dismissed the conduct of the agencies and confiscated the correspondence register and file presented to his Committee by the OAGF.
“If for more than a month of investigation, none of you could come up with relevant documents to back up your claim of returning the still missing N59.6 billion then you have betrayed the professions you all represent.”
“I cannot accept this letter that has no signature or stamp because, for all I care, this could have been written yesterday or last week. If this letter has an original copy which is natural, then we want to see it brought here for verification and documentation by our secretariat.
“I want to see all the certified true copies of all mandates issued by the Budget Office and sent to the OAGF and also relayed to the CBN for compliance from January to December 2006. A copy of the Federation Account revealing all transactions within that year so that at a glance, we can pick out where ever it is the fund has gone to.”
The agencies were given one week to turn in all documents requested for the conclusion of the investigation.
– This Day