The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives yesterday declared that the N24billion Police Pension Fund alleged to have disappeared is indeed missing.
The committee also refused to share the view of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that the money is still intact.
The hearing of the committee on the matter was attended by the Director General of Pension Transitional Arrangement Department (PTAD), Mrs. Nellie Mayshak and her team, representatives of the office of the Accountant General of the federation and others. Chairman of the committee, Adeola Solomon Olamilekan, challenged the minister to a public debate over the matter, emphasising that her claim was either true or she is merely trying to mislead the nation.
"We invited you people to appear before this honorable committee on this serious transactions involving tax payers' money running into billions of naira and the new DG of Pension Transitional Arrangement Department was honest enough to say that she just took over and that there was no document to back up the disbursement of the N24bllion, we further requested for more documentation in order to get to the root of the matter only for the minister to come up with a press statement that the money was not missing," Olamilekan said.
"We challenge her to a public debate where all the media houses will be present and will be live on all television stations, so that Nigerians will know whether or not the N24billion was not missing," he declared.
The chairman further added that: "All these documents being brandish around in defence of the missing N24billion are fraudulent, forged and fake which cannot stand the test of the time, they have nothing to do with the missing money.
"Come to think of it, the minister claimed that the money was kept in an account. In which bank and how much was the interest since it was kept in the bank? She also claimed that the money had been paid into the treasury, where is the official receipt issued to that effect?", he queried. The committee requested for the statements of the bank account detailing the in-flows and out-flows of the account.
It also asked for the amount lodged at the First Bank of Nigeria between 2009 and 2012, seeking duly signed statements to that effect by the bank.
The committee said any relevant documents on the money should be brought before it on March 26.
Recall that a Director in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Salau Suberu, told the committee that following a directive that all unspent money should be returned to the treasury by December 31, there was a mop up on December 31, 2012 in the account of the Police Pension Fund and that in the operation about N29billion was mopped up and that the amount was diverted to finance other capital projects, a claim which the committee dismissed.